NESTLED ALONG the Miles River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is the historic waterman’s village of St. Michaels. Dating back to the mid 1600s, the charming town is home to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment and people of the Chesapeake Bay. “ The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is the only Museum in the world dedicated to telling the story of the entire Chesapeake Bay. You won’t see a ‘do not touch’ sign here,” says Marie Thomas, communications and art director. The 18-acre waterfront campus Museum was first established in 1965, and was once the site of the first African American-owned seafood packing house, docks and workboats. Today, the museum has 12 exhibition buildings, an operating floating fleet of historic Chesapeake watercraft, the Howard Chappelle research library, and the notable Hooper Strait Lighthouse. This year, the museum took on a new restoration project — rebuilding the 1889 Edna E. Lockwood, the last of the historic sailing bugeyes. The bugeye is a type of Chesapeake Bay sailboat made for dredging oysters.
There are many educational programs available at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, such as hands-on school programs, aimed at engaging children from all over the country as they learn about the history, culture and environment of the Bay. In addition, several youth summer camps and family programs are offered where you can get your hands dirty with boat-building classes. The options are endless!
The museum is home to an on-site certified clean marina which can accommodate vessels up to 200 feet. With 30 transient slips available, visitors must be a Mariner Level member ($125/ year) to dock at the facility. Amenities include electric, pumpout, shower and restroom facilities, bicycles, a picnic area and free WiFi. “We have guests that have been coming to CBMM for years to dock with us, literally generations of families. They enjoy being a part of the museum and the community; their kids have grown up on our campus playing in our exhibits,” says Ed Rowe, guest services & marina manager. Throughout the year, the museum has many enticing events, such as the 7th Annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day (Aug. 14) which celebrates the Chesapeake watermen with boat docking contests, live music and local seafood, including Chesapeake steamed crabs. During the 4th of July weekend, Big Band Night ( July 2) puts on an exciting Independence Day celebration, with live music from the Shades of Blue Orchestra. During Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3) the Charity Boat Auction will be held where over 120 boats will be auctioned off. When planning your summer getaway, make sure to add the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to your bucket list!