Plan Your Visit

So Much Happening in
Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland!



So Much to See and Do

Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) is a museum on the site of Maryland’s first capital.   Start your day at the Visitor Center, where a short introductory video will prepare you for your visit.  Tour the Visitor Center exhibit “once the Metropolis…” for an overview of St. Mary’s City history and archaeology.  Then step outside and begin exploring Maryland’s history.


We invite you to listen to this audio tour through your smart phone, or any internet connected device, on your visit.

Of course you are welcome to listen to it anywhere!


Decades of research are the foundation of living history exhibits assembled across the landscape.

  • At water’s edge, take in a pristine view that Lord Baltimore would recognize. Step onboard the Maryland Dove, which evokes the tall ship that carried settlers to the New World.  The Maryland Dove occasionally travels to other ports, so watch HSMC’s calendar for notice that she is away and not available to tour.
  • In Town Center, tour a mercantile stocked with (reproduction) items every colonist coveted and visit the forbearer of the modern motel.  Help run a printing press and learn why the first printer south of Boston worked here.
  • Visit the Woodland Indian Hamlet and discover how the Yaocomaco people lived comfortably using only items found in their surroundings.
  • At the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, it’s always 1667.  See varieties of plants used 350 years ago for food and medicine and meet the livestock.
  • Tour the first monumental Catholic Church, in the English colonies, reconstructed on its original foundation.
  • The St. John’s Museum offers insights into ways researchers reconstruct the past using historical and archaeological evidence.  During the archaeology field season, tour working excavations.

Timing is Everything

Allow at least four hours for your visit.  You will leave with a new appreciation for life on the Chesapeake frontier!


There’s Always Something Happening

Special events scheduled from March through December offer visitors unique opportunities to work alongside professional archaeologists, churn butter, watch a militia drill, or shoot a bow and arrow.


Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Living history exhibits at Historic St. Mary’s City are open seasonally, from the middle of March through November. There is an admission fee charged in season, with reduced rates for seniors, children, and students.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy the grounds, which include interpretive and Bayscape gardens and interpretive signage while the living history sites are closed in the winter, with no admission fee.

Explore the wild side of Historic St. Mary’s City on the varied hiking/walking trails available throughout the museum property anytime.


Dress for Success

Historic St. Mary’s City is in an outdoor museum.  Wear walking shoes and dress in layers to be prepared for all kinds of weather.  Please be aware that extreme weather conditions may necessitate the closing of the Maryland Dove.


Four-legged Guests

Leashed dogs are welcome on the paths and trails but not at the Plantation, where they are a danger to the farm animals. Please clean up after your pet!



The majority of the sites at Historic St. Mary’s City are wheelchair and stroller accessible.  Visitors with physical handicaps may have difficulty boarding the Maryland Dove, entering the main house at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, and accessing the second floor of the State House.  In these circumstances, print text and images will be provided.


Snacks & Souvenirs

The Shop at Farthing’s Ordinary offers an assortment of snacks, souvenirs, books, and unique decorative and household items.


Food, Glorious Food

  • Pack a meal from home and relax in one of the museum’s picnic areas – the Arbor, Pavilion, or by the Visitor Center.
  • Snacks and drinks are available at the Shop at Farthing’s Ordinary.
  • An extensive buffet is available in the Great Room of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Student Center.  It is about ½ mile from the State House. The Great Room occasionally closes for vacations and special events.  Check the Café Bon Appétit website for details.
  • Visit the St. Mary’s County Tourism website to learn about other restaurants in the community.

Bring a Group of Friends

School and group tours are available by reservation.


Find Us

The HSMC Visitor Center’s address is 18751 Hogaboom Lane in Lexington Park, MD 20653.  Directions to the museum are available here.


If you have any questions please contact us at 240-895-4990 or email

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