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East meets West at The Walters. The museum was established in 1934, with a gift from prominent art collector Henry Walters as its initial collection. On one hand, its collection spans nearly the entire history of Western art. Its spacious galleries are home to Greek and Roman statuary, Baroque carvings and a large collection of Renaissance paintings. On the other hand, its elegant Hackerman House wing holds one of the largest collections of traditional Asian art in the United States.
'Visionary Art' is a term used to describe art that is created by people who use ordinary media to express their own intensely personal ideas about life. This museum has assembled a wonderful collection of this very Visionary art. Since Visionary artists generally lack formal training, and work outside of established art traditions, their works are as bold, innovative and inspirational as the visions that spawned them. Children under six years of age are free.
This observation area, on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center, offers panoramic views of the Baltimore Harbor. There is also a museum that displays artifacts from Baltimore's past and a gift shop featuring the famous Maryland crab. Although school groups and tours are invited to schedule an appointment to experience the Top of the World Observation Level, the space may not be reserved for private functions.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was once one of the most important freight and passenger lines in the country. The museum, located in a converted switching yard west of downtown, was the final destination for dozens of the steam locomotives and diesel engines that traveled along that railroad. Visitors are welcome to climb aboard and inspect the giant machines, many of which are kept in a restored house that also holds a wealth of historical displays and railroad memorabilia.
Johns Hopkins University owns and operates this 48-room, 1850s Italianate mansion decorated with post-Impressionist paintings and sculptures, rare books, Tiffany glass and chandeliers, Chinese porcelains, Japanese netsuke and 17th-century Belgian tapestries. The impressive home contains Baltimore's only private theater designed by Leon Bakst, who is best known for Ballet Russes sets. Call for information on lectures, sculpture shows and other activities. Guided one-hour tours are offered on the hour. Closed major holidays.
The historic vessels and landmarks of this museum bring to life the history of American naval power. The US Coast Guard Cutter Taney (surviving warship in Pearl Harbor), USS Torsk (fired last two torpedoes in World War II), the lightship Chesapeake (served as floating lighthouse for 40 years) and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse (helped sailors navigate Chesapeake Bay for more than 100 years) all played a vital and heroic role in US military war and peacekeeping. Special student programs are also available at Historic Ships in Baltimore.
Maryland Science Center at Inner Harbor features interactive exhibits that focus on physics, marine biology and astronomy. The sprawling center includes a planetarium as well as an observatory, adding to its already impressive facilities. Of more local interest is the Chesapeake Bay estuary exhibit, which features several tanks of live creatures. Packages that include tickets to the IMAX theater are available.
Port Discovery offers interactive fun for the whole family. The young and young at heart will enjoy the Dream Lab and the Exploration Center, where visitors make their dreams come true and learn how to make their own art and jewelry. Children are particularly amused by Port Discovery's three-story treehouse, where they are encouraged to climb, crawl, swing and slide. The museum is also a great place for your child's birthday party. See their website for further details. The museum will have special winter hours and limited weekend hours in September due to exhibit maintenance.
The restored President Street Station, built in 1849, was first a stop on the Underground Railroad. On April 19, 1861, it became the site of the first casualties of the Civil War. The 6th Massachusetts Regiment stopped in Baltimore to switch trains and clashed with Southern sympathizers. Firing ensued and four soldiers and 12 civilians were killed. Exhibits and walking tours chronicle the story of the 6th Regiment.