CBMM’s long-term exhibitions offer an in-depth look at the Chesapeake’s boatbuilding traditions and watercraft, the seafood industry, recreational boating, lighthouses and maritime navigation, drawing from our unique world-class collections of objects, art and photography, to tell the stories of individuals, groups and communities along the Bay.
In 2023 and 2024, CBMM will close two of its legacy exhibitions, “Bay History” and “Waterfowling,” in preparation for the opening of a new Welcome Center that will provide an introductory experience in two new exhibitions. “Watercraft Heritage” will feature the history and stories behind more than thirty small craft from CBMM’s collection selected from our long-term storage facilities. “Stories from the Shoreline” will orient guests for their CBMM experience by providing a sense of place, highlighting changes to the environment and landscape, and exploring how humans interacted with the land and the water over time through waterfowling, crabbing, fishing and trapping, along with cultural and recreational activities including birding, kayaking, religious ceremonies and community celebrations at the water’s edge.
Explore our current long-term exhibitions, including Historic Structures, below.
Now standing proudly on Navy Point, the Hooper Strait Lighthouse was built in 1879 to light the way for boats navigating the shallow dangerous shoals of Hooper Strait, a thoroughfare […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/22/2023
At Play on the Bay explores one of the most dramatic changes to the Chesapeake Bay’s history over the last century—from the waterway as primarily a place of work to […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
Discover the maritime history of the Chesapeake. Explore the culture of the Indigenous inhabitants who named the Bay “Chesapeake,” why the first English explorers in North America placed their settlements […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
Located adjacent to the Log House is CBMM’s Heirloom Garden. Maintained by volunteers, the garden features rare, unique and historically accurate plants and herbs. The plantings are extensively researched to […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
Shorelines gently slope down to the water, absorbing wave action, reducing erosion. Many plants and animals live in this wetland zone between high and low tide. Protecting an eroding shoreline […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
Crab picking is detailed work and has historically been done by women, both Black and white women from local communities, and since the 1980s, Latina jaiberas working seasonally on H-2B […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
Frederick Bailey (later known as Frederick Douglass) was born at Tapper’s Corner, near the Tuckahoe River and raised by his grandmother, Betsey. He lived in St. Michaels between 1833 and […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
Board the oyster harvesting skipjack E.C. Collier to enter the working world of a Chesapeake Bay waterman. From harvesting equipment to the Oyster Wars, this participatory exhibit explores how the […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
The Small Boat Shed is home to skiffs and other small craft that watermen used around the Chesapeake Bay for fishing, oystering, and crabbing. Most of the displayed boats were […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
The Chesapeake Bay is the site of one of the world’s great bird migrations. Each spring and fall, hundreds of thousands of geese, ducks, shorebirds, and songbirds find refuge along […]Long-term Exhibitions 2/24/2023
Five structures are original to the Navy Point site and have been a part of the National Register for Historic Places St. Michaels District since 1986. The District includes Miller’s House (Museum store) and the cannery warehouse (Small Boat Shed), as well as Higgins, Dodson, and Eagle Houses, historic 19th–century homes now used as the administration buildings of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Vulnerable to storm surge and high tides, the structures were stabilized, renovated and raised on higher foundations and grading, and an archeological survey of the site was commissioned by CBMM. They now sit comfortably above the flood plain.
The brick Dodson House, named for longtime owner hotelier Richard Stearns Dodson and his son, State Senator Richard Slicer Dodson, was built sometime between 1851 and 1861. In 1886, Dodson […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
Once the home of retired steamboat captain Edward Napoleon Dodson, Eagle House is named for the entry tower that is capped by an eagle—a replica of the carving that stood […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
Built between 1851 and 1861 with an earlier kitchen wing that was moved to the site, the Higgins House is named for its last owner before it was acquired for […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
The Hooper Strait Lighthouse, now standing on Navy Point, was originally built in 1879 to light the way for boats passing through the shallow, dangerous shoals of Hooper Strait, a […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
This log house was constructed in a simple style that was common in the 1700s and 1800s, but this building cannot be precisely dated. Humble farm cabins were rarely documented, […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
The Miller’s House was built for S. Sutliff, owner of the steam sawmill that stood just to the north on Navy Point. When the next miller, Miers R. Richards, retired […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
Once the home of Eliza Bailey Mitchell, abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ closest sibling, the oldest one-room and loft portion of this structure (left) was built between 1815 and 1850, while the […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
When fog hides a lighthouse’s beacon, sailors need an audible signal to guide them. Consequently, a fog tower containing a bell was frequently built alongside a lighthouse. Large bells, such […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023
The Small Boat Shed was originally a freight terminal located in Claiborne, Md. owned by the Baltimore, Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway Company, which operated rail and steamer service, beginning in […]Historic Structures 2/24/2023