In 2018, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum completed a new Master Plan, a guiding document that lays out a vision for the CBMM campus and is designed to greatly enhance the guest experience. The Master Plan supports CBMM’s mission and world-class maritime museum status by providing increased space for its core museum offerings, including exhibitions, education, and the working Shipyard.

The scope of the plan is broad and addresses all facets of the physical campus, including new and reoriented buildings, wayfinding, guest accessibility and comforts, and prioritizing CBMM’s natural waterfront environments. Every aspect of the Master Plan is driven by CBMM’s values of relevance, authenticity, and stewardship, coupled with a commitment to serve as a vital community partner that provides engaging guest experiences and transformative educational programming.

Three phases make up the Master Plan, with the scope and timeline expected to be seven to 10 years, contingent upon funding. Funding sources will include individual donations and naming opportunities, grants, and operations.

Phase I

Phase I of the Master Plan entailed a significant upgrade of CBMM’s library and collections facilities. Completed in spring 2022, the Norman & Ellen Plummer Center for Museum Collections and Howard I. Chapelle Library houses CBMM’s extensive collection of more than 80,000 objects, resources, and archival materials related to the history, environment, and culture of the Chesapeake Bay region. Boasting extensive renovations and a 4,500-square-foot expansion, the project ensures our commitment to preserving these singular resources and making them available to all. Phase I also included the re-grading of CBMM’s working Shipyard and the construction of a workshop and timber-frame pavilion next to the marine railway.

Phase II

CBMM broke ground on its new Welcome Center in mid-2022, a major milestone marking the start of Phase II of the Master Plan. Slated to open in fall 2023, the 12,000-square-foot, fully ADA-accessible building will house CBMM’s Welcome Center, Museum Store, and two exhibition spaces. Designed for maximum energy efficiency, the new building will immensely enhance the guest experience at CBMM and provide a warmer and more immersive welcome to campus.

Phase III

Phase III includes a focus on the use of outdoor space, with plans for a family-friendly maritime-themed adventure playground and an expansion of Shipyard facilities to showcase the ever-expanding range of Shipyard education, boatbuilding, and exhibitions.

You, too, can support CBMM’s efforts to enhance campus and create better public offerings by donating to The Annual Fund.