Annapolis history would not be complete without recognizing its maritime heritage. Founded in 1990, the Annapolis Maritime Museum (AMM) serves this purpose and more. The museum offers a state-of-the-art educational facility, an exhibition gallery, and a community assembly hall in the Eastport section of Annapolis.
Annapolis Maritime History
The first English settlers arrived in Annapolis aboard a ship in 1649, where they discovered a Native American population that had been flourishing from the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay for hundreds of years.
Founded in 1695, Annapolis became an important port for shipping tobacco to the UK. Ships traveling west across the Atlantic brought goods and African slaves, including novelist Alex Haley’s ancestor, Kunta Kinte, in 1767.
After the Revolutionary War, Annapolis lost its shipping prominence to Baltimore, which had a larger and deeper harbor. As a result, the harvesting of oysters, crabs and fish from the shallow waters of the Chesapeake grew in importance.
The oyster industry generated the most income from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. Men, women, and children shucked and canned oysters. Canning allowed the oysters to be sent by railroad and steamship to distant parts of the country.
Boatwrights and craftsmen worked in boatyards on the Eastport peninsula, across the Annapolis harbor. The town of Eastport was founded in 1868, and its citizens mostly worked in the seafood industry, boat building, or for the Naval Academy. During the Second World War, Eastport built ships for both the British and Soviet navies.
As the oyster business decreased, the watermen’s boats were replaced by recreational sailboats and powerboats. Annapolis is now known as “America’s Sailing Capital” and hosts key sailing competitions. Boat rentals and tour boats give visitors who do not come by sea wonderful opportunities to spend a day sightseeing on the Chesapeake Bay.
The Annapolis Maritime Museum aspires to educate visitors of all ages regarding the city’s maritime heritage and Chesapeake Bay’s ecology at its waterfront location overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. AMM’s education program serves more than 5,000 students from the Annapolis region annually, fostering environmental awareness and stewardship. Museum hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday to Sunday.
A B&B Near the Museum
The Annapolis Maritime Museum is less than one and a half miles away from Gibson’s Lodgings, a historic inn located in downtown Annapolis. Call us to reserve your bed and breakfast room at our toll free number 877-330-0057. We’ll be very happy to serve you and your family throughout the year.