The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is committed to stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and its resources. Stewardship is a core CBMM value—and one that we take very seriously. To this end, CBMM has adopted numerous initiatives to increase the sustainability of both our campus and our operations.

Ditching Single-Use Plastics

Knowing that our coastal waters have a huge impact on nearly every aspect of our planet, we are dedicated to practices that positively impact both wildlife habitat and the quality of our waterways. In early 2018, CBMM began working toward a goal of eliminating single-use plastics at our waterfront campus in St. Michaels.

Single-use plastics comprise any item meant to be disposed of or recycled after one use. Examples include water bottles, drinking straws, plastic bags, and most food packaging. The CBMM initiative was implemented in collaboration with Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Ct., with a goal of providing a benchmark for other maritime museums and their communities to replicate. Examples of our efforts include:

  • Installing additional water fountains and filling stations on campus to encourage guests to bring their own reusable water bottles
  • Replacing single-use plastic items with more sustainable alternatives (e.g., paper bags instead of plastic in the Museum Store)
  • Transitioning large-scale events on campus to include industrial composing bins. For these events, all waste will either be recycled or composted.
  • Installing additional recycling stations and signage that encourages guests to be mindful of how they dispose of waste.

Have questions about this initiative or want to get involved? Contact Sustainability Chair Jill Ferris at

As part of Phase II of our Master Plan, CBMM is building a new Welcome Center! The Welcome Center will replace a facility that has outlived its useful life and is costly to maintain.

The new building has been designed as a highly efficient structure, with both energy conservation and operating costs prioritized throughout the process. Energy efficiency was key in selecting mechanical systems, walls, ceilings and insulation, lighting, and many other building components, and specific design decisions were made regarding stormwater management and landscaping.

Conservation landscaping is the practice of creating a diverse landscape that helps to protect clean air and water and support habitat for wildlife. Measures include using native plants that are adapted to local conditions, slowing stormwater runoff to increase filtration of detrimental nutrients entering Bay waterways, creating migratory corridors for birds and insects, and providing a plant environment that attracts a diversity of wildlife species.

Because of our location on the Miles River and St. Michaels Harbor, CBMM is especially mindful of these practices. On our campus, you will find an extended living shoreline, rain gardens and swales, native plantings, and signage that educates guests about the importance of biodiversity for a healthy Chesapeake.

In 2019, CBMM was named a member of and received a Leadership Award from the Maryland Green Registry, a sustainability program sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment. CBMM was recognized for its single-use plastic-free initiative, participation in community environmental projects, single-stream recycling, water conservation, energy-efficient practices, and stormwater management and site design.

CBMM has been named a Certified Clean Marina Partner by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Maryland Clean Marina Initiative recognizes and promotes marinas, boatyards, and yacht clubs that meet legal requirements and voluntarily adopt pollution prevention practices. Initiatives taken by CBMM to qualify for the recognition include having an onsite pump-out service, vegetated buffer areas for stormwater management, solid waste recycling, using rain barrels to manage storm runoff, and native Maryland plantings throughout campus.