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.
Considered one of the finest examples of Neoclassical architecture, the Baltimore Basilica is the nation's oldest Catholic cathedral. Begun in 1806 and completed in 1821, the cathedral was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol. With its six Corinthian columns fronting a grand portico, the cathedral resembles a Greek temple. Nine stained-glass windows fill the massive interior with light. Visitors in recent years have included Pope John Paul II and the late Mother Theresa.
'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.
The sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the 'Star Spangled Banner'. The fort is best known for the part it played during the War of 1812, successfully holding off an attack by the British Navy. When Scott Key saw the flag still flying over the fort after surviving the attack, he wrote the poem that became the national anthem. Today, the fort is a National Historic Park. The restored barracks hold exhibits of military and historical artifacts and a well-kept trail runs along the water's edge, affording spectacular views of ships entering and leaving the busy harbor.
This aquarium is perhaps the greatest attraction in Baltimore's celebrated Inner Harbor. The exhibits start small with samples of marine life from local waters, but visitors soon find themselves eye-to-eye with sharks, rays and other very large creatures. The simulated rainforest ecosystem is truly awe-inspiring. The regularly scheduled dolphin shows are very popular, especially with children.
The soul of this museum is its spacious wing dedicated to Modern Art masters like Rothko, de Kooning, Pollock and their contemporaries. The museum has the second largest private collection of Andy Warhol's works. It also features Oceanic and American Indian art, a sizable Old Masters collection and a beautiful sculpture garden. The BMA is also home to the Cone collection, which is a treasury of Early Modern masterpieces.
The Peabody Institute was the first conservatory in the United States. It was founded in 1857 by philanthropist George Peabody and has been part of the Johns Hopkins University since 1977. The institute boasts four concert halls and the Peabody Library and is home to the Peabody Conservatory, John Steven Limited which offers private musical lessons and the Peabody Preparatory, a non-degree program that offers classes for people of all ages. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento and vocalist/pianist Tori Amos attended the institute. Students, faculty and other performers often stage free public concerts.
Towering above Mount Vernon Place is Baltimore's Washington Monument. The marble Doric column towers 178 feet (54.25 meters) with a statue of George Washington at its crown. The reward for climbing the steep, winding 228 steps is a breathtaking, bird's-eye view of Baltimore. The base contains a small museum with exhibits chronicling the architecture and development of the monument, which took nearly 15 years to build (1815-1829).
The four squares that surround the historic Washington Monument together form Mount Vernon Place. These four squares were created after the monument was built in order to create a spectacular setting for it. Although the monument is the crowning jewel of the park, by itself too the park is a sight to behold. Verdant trees, grass and shrubs, paved walkways, and beautiful statues and fountains dot the park, making it one of the finest urban landscapes in the world. Mount Vernon Place also has plenty of benches and dining options and is surrounded by houses that have still retained their old-world charm, making it a great spot for spending a peaceful day. Located nearby are the Lexington Market, the Hippodrome Theater, and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Built in 1814 by Charles Wilson Peale, one of the first American painters to achieve a place of distinction in the fine arts, the Peale Museum features a collection of 40 Peale family portraits and houses several natural history displays. Peale's collection of specimens gave scientists and visitors the opportunity to study animals and plants outside their natural environment. This museum was the first to display the complete skeleton of a mastodon. It is still standing today and the building was registered as a National Historical Landmark in 1965.