The Maryland Historical Society
Since its 1844 founding, the society (page 24) has amassed more than 350,000 objects and millions of books and documents on Maryland’s history. Start a short visit on the first floor. To the right of the glass entryway (above), find intriguing hints of life in 1815 and 1915 through objects stowed in time capsules uncovered at the (first) Washington Monument. On the second floor, glimpse the original manuscript of Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner” (above, right), shown for a few minutes on the hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. After, turn the corner to learn all about the doomed marriage of Napolean Bonaparte’s younger brother, Joseph, to local Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (above, center), whose beauty and wit (not to mention low-cut French gowns) attracted many suitors (and scandals). If there’s still time, peruse the exquisite furniture on the third floor, where period paintings are displayed with the well-preserved pieces they highlight.