The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

St. Michaels, a twenty minute drive from Tilghman Island, is home to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  The museum documents the areas natural, cultural, and economic history.

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The museum’s active boat shop offers classes and . . .

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supports the restoration of vintage working vessels such as the Skipjack Rosie Parks.

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The Hooper Strait Lighthouse, built in 1879, guided boats passing through the Hooper Strait shoals enroute from the Chesapeake Bay across Tangier Sound to Deals Island and the Nanticoke and Wicomico Rivers. A “screwpile” lighthouse, it is built onl iron pilings  tipped with a screw that could be turned into the muddy bottom.

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A screw used to secure the lighthouse to the bottom.

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The Museum’s largest permanent exhibit, At Play on the Bay, explores the Chesapeake Bay’s twentieth-century history shift over the last 100 years from a place of work to a place where people now come to play. – See more at:

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The museum boasts a fine collection of scale models of vessels used on the Chesapeake.  The museum’s volunteer Model Guild helps provide exhibit models and building kits for the Museum Store.

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Decoys are prominently displayed in the building devoted to Bay waterfowl.

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Eulalie manning the big gun.

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The Museum’s Skipjack viewed from the water.

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The Hooper Strait lighthouse viewed from the water.

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During the War of 1812, St. Michaels’ boat yards built a flotilla of shallow draft vessels to attack British barges ferry soldiers from war ships to shore.  This diorama depicts the boatyard in action.  The diorama is part of a larger exhibit focused on the War of 1812.

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The museum thoughtfully documents aspects of African American history on the Eastern Shore.  Frederick Douglass (author and leader of abolitionist movement) and Harriet Tubman (active on the Underground Railroad and Union Spy during the Civil War) both have roots in the area.  The museum is home to the Mitchell House, which belonged to Douglass’ sister, Eliza Bailey Mitchell, and her husband, Peter.

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