In Baltimore we went to the Maryland Historical Society, which usually costs money but is free this October as part of Free Fall Baltimore. They have some great exhibits including an original longhand manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner, religious artifacts, slave-made pottery and instruments, locally-made silver and clocks, magnificent furniture, a local historic art gallery and a kids' room where ours got to practice dredging oysters and sitting at desks with inkwells. I always forget that this state was so invested in the tobacco trade and that slavery was actually legal here longer than in the Confederacy, since the Emancipation Proclamation didn't apply to Northern states which the Union army emphatically made certain Maryland remained, but this state also has a historic commitment to religious freedom -- got around restrictions on Jews holding public office by letting anyone who believed in an afterlife hold the positions -- and produced many of the great debaters, orators and literary abolitionists because of its position at the center of the conflict.
This is the reproduction of Francis Scott Key's manuscript that is on display during all the hours the museum is open.
Four times a day for five minutes each time, the reproduction slides aside and the actual manuscript written by Key is displayed. (Sorry about the blur: this photo was of course taken without flash, while the one above was taken with flash.)
The Ark and the Dove, the two ships that brought the original colonists to Maryland under charter from Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore.
A diorama of Father Andrew White celebrating mass on the first Maryland Day, March 25, 1634.
The decoration at the back of the fall-front desk is this beautiful painting. And I just love the detail in the carving and inlaid wood.
After he finished the desk in 1883, the craftsman, Charles Fink, found work as a cabinetmaker.