Not just another pretty place…


Take 800 acres of the most beautiful landscape in the mid-Atlantic and wrap them in waterways, and place them on top of the best preserved English colonial archaeological site in North America and you have Historic St. Mary’s City.  HSMC has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark since 1969 and is one of Southern Maryland’s leading tourism attractions.


The museum commemorates the fourth permanent English settlement in North America, Maryland’s first city and for sixty-one years, its colonial capital.St. Mary’s was the scene of many notable firsts in America’s early history.


  • First effort to free religion from government in America
  • First legislator of African descent in North America (Mathias de Sousa, 1642)
  • First woman to petition for the right to vote in English America (Margaret Brent, 1648)

The HSMC research department was established in 1967 and the archaeology program began in 1971.  They continue to study the history of St. Mary’s City, preserve its archaeological evidence, and interpret that history for the public.  Decades of research are the foundation of exhibits assembled across the landscape:  re-created structures in the town center, the Brick Chapel of 1667, the State House of 1676, a Woodland Indian hamlet, a tall ship, and a tobacco plantation complete with heritage livestock.  The St. John’s Site Museum preserves the foundation of one of the nation’s most important historic places and examines how researchers know what they know about the past.The museum’s collections are a resource for professional archaeologists and scholars.College students study at the museum’s colonial archaeology field school, the longest running in the nation.


As you walk through the park-like setting of Historic St. Mary’s City, costumed interpreters bring the past to life.  Every year over twenty thousand elementary students tour the site to gain an immersive experience in the history they study. Special events held throughout the year provide unique opportunities for visitors to work alongside archaeologists, explore the lifeways and culture of the region’s Native American peoples, and discover various facets of the colonial experience in tidewater Maryland.Our unique grounds and buildings offer a memorable venue for weddings and corporate affairs.


We invite you to get to know our staff and check out the newsroom for more information about one of America’s most beautiful historical sites, Historic St. Mary’s City.