The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s online catalog provides unprecedented access to our rich collections, including objects/artifacts, boats, photographs, ships’ plans, manuscript collections and oral histories, as well as books and periodicals. While work to provide digital images and update our catalog records is ongoing, CBMM is giving full and public access to descriptions of more than 80,000 individual items. After exploring the portal, use the Research Request form to request more information or to make an appointment to do research in the Howard I. Chapelle library.

Click the link below to explore our collections and features, which will open in a new page. You may refer to this page for search hints, detailed below.

The quickest and easiest method of searching is our Global Search feature which can be found on the top right of the page. This will search all fields in all collections for the key words you type. This is the best place to begin your search. Examples of word searches you may choose to use here include vessel names, proper names, types of objects, artists or makers, or places in the Bay.  



Tip: Use quotes around groups of words you would like to keep together such as “oyster tongs” this way you only get results about oyster tongs, not the many results that include the word oyster.  



Tip: There are a few options for how to view your results after a search. The default will be to view all records sorted by catalog number, with and without images, and have thumbnails along with the catalog number, object name, title, and artist or maker. Note that you can choose to ONLY view records that have images attached, to change how the results are sorted, and adjust the number of results on one page by selecting the options on the left-side of the results page. 


Tip: We are in the process digitizing our photographs and other collections, a time-consuming process. For this reason, many of our catalog records only have descriptions. Please read these descriptions and submit a research request if you would like to see a digitized image.  


You can choose the Search/Search Collections at the top of the page for a more advanced search feature. On this page you can choose fields to search for specific words. Field-specific searches will show only results for THAT keyword in THAT field. We suggest using this feature after you have done some wider searches using our Global Search feature and have identified specific search terms. 



The Browse option groups catalog records based on subject, artist-maker, or object names (Object and Oral History directory), or call number, title or author (Library directory). The list of subjects, titles, authors, etc. may take some time to load, so be patient. This is a place to begin when you may have trouble coming up with keywords to search.  


Our features pages dive deeper into the history and context behind some of our most intriguing collections, similar to an online exhibition or an informative blog post. New Features will be added regularly.


Dove Tales Exhibition Feature