United States

10 Exhibitions to Visit in Maryland this Fall

by Paul Joseph  |  Published September 20, 2023

If you’ve visiting Maryland this Fall, then you might want to check out one of the many great art and cultural exhibitions taking place here.

(Photo: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum)

With reliably warm temperatures and an abundance of eye-catching golden, bronze, and scarlet foliage displays dominating the natural landscapes, Fall is a wonderful time to be in Maryland. But beyond its outdoor appeal, the Mid-Atlantic state also boasts a wide number of museums and cultural venues – with many hosting exhibitions throughout the year. Here are 10 of the best to look out for this Fall.

A Feminine Touch: The story of the women who had a hand in shaping a town

Visitors will learn about the profound impact women have made within Ocean City from the 1800s through the 1990s. The display of historic photographs, postcards, military awards, and women’s clothing gives visitors a view into the lives of several influential women. With a focus on the hospitality industry, this exhibit will cover a group of eight forward-thinking women who represented what is now known as the “Petticoat Regime.” These women were entrepreneurs who owned and operated some of the town’s first hotels. Let’s not forget about the “Steel Magnolias”, a group of women honoured by the O.C. Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association as some of the most successful business owners of the 1980s. In addition to showcasing entrepreneurs, women in uniform, and individuals who committed acts of bravery are woven into this timeline.

Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, Ocean City / Through Fall 2023

Historic Sotterley – Permanent Collection

(Photo: Ashlyn Conley)

Historic Sotterley is a 300-year-old National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest museums of its kind in the United States. Through the preservation of the site’s historic structures and natural environment and the use of powerful stories to educate and bring American history to life, the organization strives to foster a better understanding of our world today by providing a living link to America’s complex history and legacy of slavery. Historic Sotterley offers guided tours from May through October and has several exhibits, including a look at a historic one-room slave dwelling which pre-dates the Civil War and gives visitors the opportunity to step inside and think about what life was like for its residents.

Historic Sotterley, Hollywood / Permanent

History of the Chesapeake Beach Railway – Permanent Collection

(Photo: Tiffany Thompson, Alpha Graphics Inc.)

Designed in the late 1800s as a resort town with beachfront hotels, a race track, casino, bathhouse, beaches, and a vast entertainment boardwalk built over the water, Chesapeake Beach officially received its railway on June 9, 1900’s grand opening day with a full load of passengers and much fanfare. However, The Great Depression and the automobile brought an end to the railway, and in 1935, the final train chugged away from the Chesapeake Beach station. Today the last remaining station, fashioned into a free-to-enter museum in 1979, features a large collection of exhibits and artefacts that tell the fascinating story of the railway and its impact on the area.

Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum, Chesapeake Beach / cbrm.org for seasonal hours of operation

If You Build It, They Will Come: Visionary Artists And Eheir Environments

Dedicated to fresh thought, humour, and creative intuition, the American Visionary Art Museum features works by self-taught artists – including farmers, mathematicians, prison inmates, and people with mental illness – that challenge notions of what it means to be an artist. Running from this Fall to next, this exhibition invite visitors into the handcrafted environments of such forward-thinking talents as Zebedee Armstrong, Ruby C. Williams, Leslie Payne, DeVon Smith, and Baltimore’s own Loring Cornish, through interactive touch-screen maps that explore visionary environments across the country.

American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore / 7 October 2023 – 1 September 2024

Battlefield Urology

(Photo: William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History)

Regardless of whether a war is major or minor, one thing remains: the need for medical personnel to administer care and learn how to best prevent, stabilise and treat the wounds of war. As weaponry has evolved from arrows to bullets and from cannons to rockets and explosive devices, the improved prevention and management of these injuries has followed. This exhibition explores the lessons learned from wartime urological injury and disease and honours the urologists, trauma surgeons, and other health professionals who have contributed to the current state-of-the-art care they are able to provide, not just for military urological injury and disease, but for urologic patients everywhere.

William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History, Linthicum / Through November 2023

Poe in Comics

On display at Baltimore’s historic Westminster Hall & Burying Ground, just steps from American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe’s final resting place, this exhibition invites visitors to immerse themselves in the chilling world of Poe through the hauntingly beautiful medium of comics. Witness his tales of horror and suspense brought to life with eerie illustrations and haunting dialogue that will make your heart race and blood run cold. Discover rare and collectible editions of Poe’s work, as well as new interpretations from talented contemporary artists who have put their own unique spin on his classic tales.

Westminster Hall, University of Maryland, Baltimore / 2-8 October 2023

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited

(Photo: The Jim Henson Company)

Few people of the 20th century have had such wide-reaching, and inter-generational appeal as the late American puppeteer and animator, Jim Henson. His innovations in storytelling revolutionised childrens’ education, and his work from “Fraggle Rock” to “Dark Crystal” had a profound impact on generations of people. And it all started in Maryland. This travelling show comprises of a 5,000-square-foot multimedia exhibition full of hundreds of objects, including puppets, character sketches, storyboards, scripts, costumes, and film and television clips from Henson’s prolific body of work and the immersive worlds that he created.

Maryland Center for History and Culture, Baltimore / Through 30 December 2023

Her Helm: Portraits of Women on the Chesapeake

Showcasing the work of Maryland-based portrait photographer Kristin Rutkowski, this exhibition highlight women who captain vessels on the Chesapeake Bay. The result of a two-year portrait project, the exhibition seeks to challenge gendered stereotypes of who commands the wheel aboard vessels that ply the Bay. The artist travelled the region to feature more than 50 women who make their own way on the water, discovering a network of recreational power boaters and sailors, charter boat and tug captains, maritime and environmental educators, and delivery boat and ferry operators. Each of them, she found, experienced unique obstacles and challenges as they built their confidence and capability on the water.

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St Michaels / Through September 2024

New on the Bookshelf: Expanded Narratives

(Photo: Arthur Szyk, The Szyk Haggadah , 1940, Museum purchase with funds provided by the W. Alton Jones Foundation Acquisition Fund, 2018)

Housed in the Walters Art Museum’s new, permanent book gallery, this exhibition showcases new acquisitions on view at the museum for the first time, side-by-side with long-time favourites. A total of 17 works are on display, including stunning Judaica, illustrated Japanese books, manuscripts made for children, rediscovered pages from 12th-century manuscripts, Ethiopian prayerbooks, and later manuscripts created during the era of print. Together they explore themes of accessibility, religion and spirituality, fables, and the oftentimes deeply personal nature of books.

The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore / Through 7 December 2023 

Wild Forms: Fauve Woodcuts

Henri Matisse, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Othon Friesz were all members of the influential group of French artists known as the Fauves (or Wild Beasts). This exhibition examines more than a dozen woodcut prints produced early in the careers of Fauve artists and those associated with them. Best known for their bold and brash use of intense colour in their paintings often applied in quick dramatic strokes, the Fauves experimented with woodcuts to create powerful and expressive works mostly in black and white. They explored the high contrast between tones in their woodcuts, while also simplifying form and line in their innovative compositions.

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore / Through 15 October 2023