Exhibits

Your experience awaits at Historic St. Mary’s City! As you arrive on the outdoor grounds, travel the same paths of those that were here over three hundred years ago.

What to See

  • Visitor Exhibits

    The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, Bringing the Farm to Life

    Meet and converse with members of the Spray household (and maybe a neighbor or two) as you step back in time and explore a working 1st-person plantation set in the year 1667. This site, its structures, fields, cows, pigs, chickens, and inhabitants represent life as it was during the heyday of tobacco culture in colonial Maryland.

    We invite you to discover how different and similar the Spray plantation is from American Civil War plantations. Remember, everyone has a story to tell and the Spray Family, their servants and neighbors are no different. Experience seasonal activities at the Godiah Spray Plantation such as:

    • 17th-Century Agricultural Practices (corn and tobacco)
    • Hearth Cooking
    • Woodworking
    • Herb Gardening

    Only service animals are allowed at this exhibit area. No pets, please.

    • 0.5

      miles drive from the Visitor Center

    • 1.1

      miles drive from Farthing’s

    • 0.16

      miles walk from the parking lot

    • Mulched

      paths available

    A heritage breed chicken stands to welcome guests at the main house door

    The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    A homeschool program offers students the chance to interpret to the public and learn historical skills

    The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation Home School Program

    An indentured servant is preparing a meal in the main room of the hose at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    Staff Demonstration at The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    Heritage breed chickens wander freely at the plantation

    The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    Meet heritage breed animals at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    Heritage breed animals

    School Tours at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    School Tours

    School Tours at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    School Tours

    The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    Take a glimpse back in time to 1667

    Travel back in time to 1667

    Staff at the Godiah Spray Tobacco plantation are inspecting the tobacco plants for insects that eat the plants

    Staff at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    The kitchen garden is filled with seasonal color

    Kitchen Garden

    Tickseed sunflowers have been gathered for hundreds of years to be used in dyes to dye fabric a golden shade of yellow

    Tickseed Sunflowers

    Visit the home of the Spray family at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    Home of the Spray family

    Weeding in the Garden at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation

    Weeding in the garden


  • Visitor Exhibits

    The Woodland Indian Hamlet tells the story of the Yaocomaco people and other neighboring tribes. Join the staff in learning and experimenting with the skills necessary to build and run a small village like that of Indigenous people of the region.

    Some of potential experiences you might have at the Woodland Indian Hamlet include:

    • Fire Starting
    • Food Preparation
    • Pottery
    • Witchott Construction
    • Canoe Shaping

    For your consideration and visitor discretion, The Woodland Indian Hamlet uses real animal parts, skins, bone, sinew, etc. in its day to day operations. Be aware there might be ongoing processing of animals on
    site.

    • 0.43

      miles walk from Farthing’s

    • 0.12

      miles walk from the Visitor Center

    • Mulched

      paths available

    • Acessible

      door ways available

    A HSMC staff member is demonstrating how to tan a deer hide in a manner similar to how Native Americans living around the Chesapeake Bay

    HSMC Staff Demonstration

    A witchott, or longhouse, clad with locally harvested grasses

    Witchott or Longhouse

    HSMC staff demonstrating how to use a spear throwing tool

    HSMC Staff Demonstration

    HSMC staff person teaches a young visitor how to start a fire with a bowdrill

    HSMC Staff Demonstration

    Visitors learning how the Yaocomoco people smoked and dried food

    Visitors learning about the Yaocomoco people


  • Visitor Exhibits

    Step aboard Maryland Dove, experience what life was like for a sailor during the 17th century. A visit to the Waterfront at Historic St. Mary’s City reveals how waterways, and those who navigated them, linked Maryland’s colonists to the rest of the world.

    A few times each year Maryland Dove does travel away from its home port at Historic St. Mary’s City for outreach voyages to other ports. Please check the Calendar for the Maryland Dove’s seasonal schedule.

    A new Maryland Dove is currently being built in partnership with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s, Maryland, and set to complete in 2021. To see updates on the build, visit www.MarylandDove.org

    Some of potential experiences you might have at the Waterfront include:

    • General Watercraft Maintenance
    • Knot Work
    • Navigation
    • Woodworking

    For your consideration and visitor discretion, the Maryland Dove is a functioning ship and as such is floating on the water and beholden to Coast Guard regulations. Your safety is our concern.

    • 0.9

      miles paved walk from Farthing’s

    • 0.56

      miles paved walk from The Visitor Center

    • Ship

      not Handicap Accessible

    • Below

      deck has low light

    Maryland Dove

    Photo Credit: Maryland Office of Tourism

    HSMC waterfront staff dressed in 1600s sailor costume hauling line with two visitors.

    Maryland Dove

    Maryland Dove docked at St. Mary's City hosting school tours.

    School tours on Maryland Dove

    Maryland Dove is docked while the smaller Parrot has a full sail and is ready to get underway.

    Maryland Dove

    The St. Mary's College sailing team maneuvers in view of Maryland Dove.

    The St. Mary's College Sailing Team


  • Visitor Exhibits

    Begin your visit to Historic St. Mary’s City at our Visitor Center.

    The Visitor Center is a complex of blue barns where one can buy tickets, grab a visitor guide/map, learn a little history, and find out what activities are happening at the museum. A ten-minute introductory video provides background on the significance of Maryland’s first capital as well as all there is to see and do at our museum. Once you purchase your tickets you can either go directly out onto the historic landscape or you can choose to begin inside and tour the “Once the Metropolis” exhibit housed in the Visitor Center structure. At this exhibit you can learn about some of Maryland’s first colonists as well as get a quick and easy
    overview of how St. Mary’s City came to be.

    • ADA

      Restrooms Available

    • Water

      Available

    Visitor Center

    Visitor Center


  • Visitor Exhibits

    The Struggle for Freedom exhibit is located in a building originally built to house the men and women owned by the Brome Plantation. This exhibit aims to show what the lives of African Americans were like from before the Civil War to the early 20th century, through their struggle for freedom and ultimately, the ability to live their lives as they chose.

    • 1.1

      miles drive from the Visitor Center

    • 1.8

      miles drive from Farthing’s

    • Natural

      lighting available

    • No

      restrooms available

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit at the Brome Quarter

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit at the Brome Quarter

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit at the Brome Quarter

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit at the Brome Quarter

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit at the Brome Quarter

    The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit


  • Visitor Exhibits

    A Witness to 17th – century Maryland.

    St. John’s Site Museum is an archaeological treasure trove of artifacts and information located on the original site of St. John’s built in 1638 by John Lewger, a close friend of Lord Baltimore. Guests get a rare look into a fully open excavated site, and learn not only about the people who made their mark here, but how archaeologists uncovered the mystery.

    • 0.9

      miles drive from Farthing’s

    • 1.3

      miles drive from the Visitor Center

    • Acessible

      front entrance

    • Unpaved

      path from parking lot

    Interior view of the main exhibit at St. John's Site Museum

    Interior View of the Main Exhibit

    The front of the St. John's Site Museum

    Front of the Museum

    Visitor looking at drawer full of artifacts

    Visitor at the Museum

    A group of visitors looks at the archaeological remains of house built in the 1600's

    St. John's Site Museum


  • Visitor Exhibits

    What Happened to “the City”? The Mackall Barn, the oldest standing agricultural structure in Maryland, is a testament to what happened in St. Mary’s after the colony moved to Annapolis, having served as a granary and a tobacco barn. Learn the evolution of its use and information about the lives of the enslaved and later freed people that worked and lived on the land.

    • 0.3

      miles walk from the Visitor Center

    • 0.36

      miles paved walk from Farthing’s

    • Low

      lighting

    • Wheelchair

      accessible

    Mackall Barn

    Mackall Barn

    Mackall Barn

    Mackall Barn

    Mackall Barn

    Mackall Barn


  • Visitor Exhibits

    Welcome to Town Center, the heart of St. Mary’s City. Here you will walk in the footsteps of those who built this colony, following its evolution from colonial fort to bustling trade center and, eventually, to ghost town.

    Some potential experiences you might have at the Town Center site include:

    • Printing
    • Lawn Bowling
    • Dying Cloth
    • Colonial Medicine
    • 0.2

      miles walk from Farthing’s

    • 0.35

      miles walk from the Visitor Center

    • Paved

      paths available

    • Natural

      lighting available

    Garrett Van Sweringen's sympathetically recreated "private inn" on its original foundation

    Garrett Van Sweringen's Private Inn

    Town Center - Maryland’s First Capital, Where Frontier Became Community

    Town Center - Maryland’s First Capital

    In the summer, sunflowers stand tall to welcome you

    Sunflowers at Town Center Exhibit

    Museum staff demonstrate historic skills

    Museum Staff Demonstration

    Reconstructed buildings stand on their original foundation in Town Center

    Reconstructed buildings in Town Center

    The garden at Town Center is filled with seasonal herbs

    The Garden at Town Center

    The Town Center buildings are filled with reproduction items

    Town Center - Maryland’s First Capital

    Town Center welcomes you to discover the history of a city beneath your feet

    Town Center - Maryland’s First Capital


  • Visitor Exhibits

    The State House of 1676 was built in honor of Maryland’s 300th anniversary in 1934. The (reconstructed) State House of 1676 is free and open to the public during the museums operating hours.

    Be aware that on occasion special programs and events are held inside the State House such as mock trials, receptions, and special demonstrations that may limit your access to the exhibit.

    • 0.7

      miles paved walk from Farthing’s

    • Second

      & Third Floor not accessible

    • Stone

      Flooring

    • Natural

      Lighting

    State House of 1676

    The State House of 1676

    The (reconstructed) State House of 1676 was built in 1935 in honor of Maryland's 300th anniversary

    The State House of 1676


  • Visitor Exhibits

    The Brick Chapel (ca. 1667) stands on HSMC’s landscape as a monument to religious freedom. While inside, please take the opportunity to visit the Lead Coffin Exhibit in the north transom where, through a clear glass floor, you can see the original lead coffin coverings of three 17th century colonists.

    • 0.2

      miles paved walk from the Visitor Center

    • 0.36

      miles paved walk from Farthing’s

    • Handicap

      accessible doors

    • Stone

      flooring

    Brick Chapel (ca. 1667) stands as a symbol of religious tolerance in early Maryland.

    Reconstructed Brick Chapel (ca. 1667)

    Brick Chapel (ca. 1667) stands as a symbol of religious tolerance in early Maryland.

    Reconstructed Brick Chapel (ca. 1667)

    Entrance of Chapel rendered with a white wash to make it look like stone.

    Reconstructed Chapel Entrance

    Brick Chapel (ca. 1667) stands as a symbol of religious tolerance in early Maryland.

    Reconstructed Brick Chapel (ca. 1667)

    The Brick Chapel with Queen Anne's Lace in the foreground.

    Reconstructed Brick Chapel (ca. 1667)

  • Weeding in the Garden at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation
  • A HSMC staff member is demonstrating how to tan a deer hide in a manner similar to how Native Americans living around the Chesapeake Bay
  • Maryland Dove docked at St. Mary's City hosting school tours.
  • Visitor Center
  • The Struggle for Freedom Exhibit at the Brome Quarter
  • Interior view of the main exhibit at St. John's Site Museum
  • Mackall Barn
  • Garrett Van Sweringen's sympathetically recreated "private inn" on its original foundation
  • State House of 1676
  • Brick Chapel (ca. 1667) stands as a symbol of religious tolerance in early Maryland.