The beautiful Baltimore suburb of Owings Mills, Maryland, is rich in American history. Owings Mills is named for one of the area’s oldest pioneers, Samuel Owings, who came to the area in the 1700s. Owings constructed three mills in nearby Gwynn’s Falls, which is also close to Baltimore.
Baltimore’s roots as a town/city began in the early 1700s, when Maryland residents pushed a town charter for Baltimore through the State Legislature and Baltimore Town was established in 1729. In the mid-to-late 1700s, the town grew as it established a flour- and tobacco-producing economy, with a unique advantage of a port next to the wheat-growing countryside.
The city expanded and achieved notable milestones, including:
- Becoming the terminus of the National Road, America’s first federal highway in 1824
- Cultivating a robust African American history, including as the birthplace of Civil Rights leader Thurgood Marshall
- Having a strong Jewish identity, with the city’s Jewish population growing from 120 in 1820, to 10,000 in 1880, to 70,000 by 1930, to 95,000 Jewish residents today
Today, Baltimore is home to Major League Baseball team the Baltimore Orioles and to National Football League team the Baltimore Ravens. The city is multiculturally diverse and has many leading attractions in the DMV (District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia) area.
Owings Mills has lots of culture and art to explore. Located just around 20 miles from Baltimore and around 50 miles from the nation’s capital, Owings Mills is a mere drive away from some of the country’s most interesting museums.
You can visit the following museums in Baltimore MD and Baltimore Owings Mills areas to learn more about the history and culture of this dynamic area.
12 Best Baltimore Museums to Visit in Baltimore and Owings Mills
1. African Art Museum of Maryland
The African Art Museum of Maryland in Columbia was founded in 1980 and exclusively features art of Africa. In addition to viewing historical objects from throughout the African continent, the museum also hosts interactive activities, such as an African Experience Tour and programs like lectures and concerts.
2. American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore is the country’s official national museum for self-taught and intuitive artistry. The permanent collection features imaginative artworks such as robots made of found items, a giant hand sculpture and a car covered in dazzling objects. Throughout the year, rotating exhibits cover themes such as healing, the art of compassion and the science and mystery of sleep. The thought-provoking artworks use unconventional materials and designs to convey ideas of social justice, science, philosophy and humor.
3. Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art was founded more than 100 years ago and features artworks from the 18th century through present day. Collections have touched on themes such as African art, Oceanic art and art by classic artists like Matisse and Rembrandt. The museum also features art with Baltimore ties and hosts programs and events like live music for the Baltimore community.
4. Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum
It’s free to visit the oldest surviving railroad depot in America, the Ellicott City Station in Ellicott City. The Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum dates back to 1831, when the site served as the terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s first 13 miles. At the museum, you can see the freight agent’s living quarters, the Provost Marshall’s office, the car house, the men’s waiting room and a 1927 caboose. See a model of the track in the museum’s freight house.
DoodleHATCH in Columbia is a fun and unique art installation museum that’s geared toward kids and families. It’s filled with lots of interactive exhibits and displays, where kids can get a hands-on, art-filled experience. The museum also includes a mock intergalactic space station that stimulates a real control room.
6. The Fire Museum of Maryland
The Fire Museum of Maryland is one of the country’s largest museums dedicated to educating the public about fire service. The museum is in Baltimore County’s Lutherville and was founded in 1971. Visitors can see historic hand engines, horse-drawn fire vehicles, steam-powered vehicles and motor vehicles. Artifacts on display include fire service tools and antiques that date back to the early 1800s. The museum also has a working fire alarm office.
7. The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum
The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum in Middle River features aviation exhibits on subjects like Glenn L. Martin, Rosie the Riveter, rockets and space, African American aviation and the Maryland Air National Guard. Visitors can see historical photography, uniforms and aircraft on display.
8. Graffiti Warehouse
See modern-day street art at the Graffiti Warehouse in Baltimore, a space featuring contemporary graffiti art on canvas. One interesting aspect to the museum is that visitors can purchase the art that’s on display, with 50% of each sale going directly to the artist. The space also hosts meet-and-greet events for graffiti art lovers.
9. Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball
Located in Owings Mills, the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball was founded by former Negro Leagues baseball player Hubert V. “Bert” Simmons, his wife Audrey L. Simmons and his good friend Rayner Banks. The museum opened in 2014 and shares space with the Owings Mills Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library and the Community College of Baltimore County. In the museum, visitors can see collectibles, artifacts, memorabilia, books and photos from the Negro Leagues dating from the 1800s to the 1950s.
10. Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science Center is a Baltimore museum full of hands-on, interactive exhibits for all ages. Its roots date back to 1797, when the Maryland Academy of Sciences debuted as an amateur scientific society discussing the natural sciences. Today, the museum is home to a planetarium, a full-size dinosaur exhibit and an IMAX theater showing science-themed movies. The museum also hosts adult programs, such as happy hours and concerts.
11. National Electronics Museum
The National Electronics Museum in Linthicum features historical static and interactive exhibits on electronics. Materials in the museum include artifacts, documents and publications on electronics ranging from radio to satellites. There’s also a research library with electronics history subject matter, a complete amateur radio station and educational STEM-focused programming.
12. The Walters Art Museum
Established in 1934, the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore features 36,000 art objects from around the world in 5 historic buildings. The diverse art collection includes everything from ancient Roman sarcophaguses, to 19 century paintings, to modern art, to ceramics dating back hundreds of years. The museum also hosts artist talks and lectures and events like craft nights.
Live Among the Rich Cultural History Around Owings Mills
In addition to being close to engaging and diverse museums in Baltimore and the surrounding area, Owings Mills is home to Atrium Village, a newly renovated Senior Lifestyle community. Atrium Village in Owings Mills offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and short-term care options for seniors.