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School Programs

At the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, we are dedicated to teaching students about the history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay’s communities and environment. Whether at the Museum, in your classroom, or out on the water, our hands-on programs and curriculum units are designed to inspire, challenge, and enlighten your students about the Chesapeake’s unique people and places.

Reservations are required. At least two weeks’ advanced notice is required for all guided programs. Prices include general admission to the Museum. Programs and tours are available throughout the year and welcome all public, private, and home-schooled students, as well as youth organizations. For information, contact Volunteer & Education Coordinator, Allison Speight, at 410-745-4941 or

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Self Guided Tours | Guided Tours | Experiential Programs | Custom Tours | Resources for Teachers

Self Guided Tours

In addition to our guided tours, we offer the option of self-guided tours by reservation. Our self-guided tours can accommodate up to 100 students with teachers and chaperones. Supplemental activities to complement our self-guided tours are available by request. CBMM school tours run continuously throughout the year, and we welcome all students, whether from public, private, or home schools. *No charge for Talbot County students.

Maryland Students $2 per student  | Out-of-State Students $4 per student  |  Teachers/Chaperones $4 per person

Guided Tours

Our guided tours are designed to bring the heritage, ecology, and culture of the Chesapeake alive through themed, docent-lead explorations of our 18-acre campus and exhibitions. *No charge for Talbot County students.

Maryland Students $4 per student  | Out-of-State Students $8 per student  |  Teachers/Chaperones $8 per person

Bay Discovery Tour at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland

Bay Discovery Guided Tour

Ages: 2-12 graders  |  Duration: 1.5 hours  |  40 students/chaperones max

In this history–based program, students explore the Chesapeake’s intertwined past and present from the Native Americans’ woodland forests and marshes to today’s froggy rumble of powerboats. Through touch objects and hands-on displays in our 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, At Play on the Bay, and Bay History exhibits, students learn about how the Chesapeake has profoundly shaped the lives of its inhabitants over the centuries.

Children tong for oysters off of Waterman's Wharf at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Bay Bounty Guided Tour

Ages: K-12 graders  |  Duration: 1.5 hours  |  40 students/chaperones max

In this guided science–and history–based program, students learn what it means to “follow the water” in every season on the Chesapeake through the eyes of a waterman. Students will tong for oysters, pull crab pots, climb into an oysterman’s bunk on a skipjack, and hear stories of the “big guns” commercial hunters used at the turn of the 19th century.

Oyster legacy tour at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland

Oystering Legacy Guided Tour

Ages: 3-8 graders | Duration: 1.5 hours | 40 students/chaperones max

In this hands-on program, students explore the history of the greatest oyster factory on Earth, the Chesapeake Bay, and how the oyster shaped the culture, industry, and environment of the Bay and its people. Students will learn about a time in which oysters lay thick as stones, through maps, activities, and giant oyster shells, hear the tales of the Oyster Wars and an oyster gold rush in the cabin of a skipjack, and investigate close-up an oyster nurseries’ crabs, fish, and baby mollusks.

Experiential Programs

These programs offer an in-depth exploration of history and environmental activities on the water, in our boatyard, and in our exhibitions. Specifically tailored to provide small groups with an intensive experience, our experiential programs allow students to be up close and personal with the Bay’s people, places, and creatures.

Cost per class $300


CBMM Crab Cakes Program

Chesapeake’s Best Crab Cakes Experiential Program

*Limited to Talbot County students only

Ages: 3rd graders  |  Duration: 1.5 hours

In this experiential program, students learn about Chesapeake geography, social studies, and economics by following the blue crab on its journey from the brackish Bay to our picnic tables. The program focuses on the people who earn their livelihood from the crabbing industry. Students have a chance to walk in their shoes by working a trotline activity, picking stuffed crabs at a packing house, ordering from a restaurant on a migrant worker’s wages, and culling their dredge catch.

Ecology Cruises at CBMM

Ecology Cruise Experiential Program

Ages: 2-10th graders | Duration: 1.5 hours | 32 students/chaperones max
*Dependent upon seasonal availability

In this ecology-based program, students learn about the animals, plants, and environment of the Chesapeake through hands-on activities aboard the 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle. Students explore the Bay watershed from large to small, starting with maps of the Chesapeake’s waterways and populations, moving to water quality testing, and finishing by examining the many organisms that call an oyster reef home.

Custom Tours

Interested in an educational program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum but can’t find what you’re looking for? Customized programming tailored to your group’s age, interests, and abilities is available. One month’s advance notice is required for custom programming.

Resources for Teachers

Our pre-visit materials and curriculum units are designed to introduce Chesapeake Bay-related topics to your students. Use them to prepare your class for their upcoming adventure to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum or to learn about our unique ecosystem. Our supplemental activities are a great way to add a bit of structure to a self-guided experience of the museum.

Pre-Visit Materials

Chesapeake Bay Food Pyramid: Who Eats Who? An activity designed for 4-8th graders to introduce the idea of food pyramids; this is a great activity to prepare for our Bay Bounty tour, Oystering Legacy tour, or Ecology Cruise program.
Oyster Tins & Advertising: What ‘cha Selling? Designed for 3-8th graders, this activity discusses advertising techniques with regards to canned oysters- great in preparation for our Bay Bounty or Oystering Legacy tours.
Life in the Hooper Strait Lighthouse: Are You a Keeper? A great activity for 2-8th graders which explores how life would have been for lighthouse keepers in the Chesapeake Bay; this is great to prepare for our Bay Discovery tour.
Types of Lighthouses: You Be the Engineer! Designed for 4-8th graders, this activity asks the students to explore different types of Chesapeake lighthouses and decide which type should be built in various locations around the Bay- a great activity to use in preparation for our Bay Discovery tour.

Curriculum Units & Lesson Plans

Chesapeake’s Best Crab Cakes: a third grade curriculum focusing on the social, scientific, economic, and historical impacts of the crabbing industry in the Chesapeake Bay.
Oystering on the Chesapeake, Units 1-5 and Oystering on the Chesapeake, Units 6-10: curriculum units designed to introduce 4th through 6th graders to the economic, environmental, and cultural significance of the oystering industry in the Chesapeake.
Watermen and the Chesapeake: this unit, designed for 5th through 8th graders, tackles the issues of lower catches, water quality, and uncertain futures that many watermen today face
Exploring the Biology and Ecology of the Eastern Oyster: a high school curriculum focusing on the ecology, biology, and anatomy of the Eastern Oyster.

Supplemental Activities for Your CBMM Visit

PreSchool Scavenger Hunt
Campus Scavenger Hunt
Hooper Strait Lighthouse Scavenger Hunt
Oyster Cans Scavenger Hunt