Top Baltimore Art Museums
Immerse yourself in centuries of culture at Baltimore’s best art museums.
Baltimore has long been known as a haven for artists and creatives. Our museums reflect the innovation of the local art scene and offer a lens to ideas from around the world. Visit Baltimore’s top art museums for world-class masterpieces, history and culture, then head to our local art galleries to see what’s new.
American Visionary Art Museum
This museum has gotten national attention for its collection of more than 4,000 pieces by self-taught artists. Permanent collections and special exhibitions by visionary artists are on display in the American Visionary Art Museum’s (AVAM) main building and in its outdoor spaces, which feature the eye-catching Cosmic Galaxy Egg, the Tree of Life and moving whirligigs. An adjacent warehouse holds its collection of kinetic sculptures, including the famous pink poodle Fifi that rolls through town each May during AVAM’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. In the summer months, the museum hosts a free outdoor movie series projected on the wall of its Jim Rouse Visionary Center to enjoy from Federal Hill park.
Baltimore Museum of Art
For more than a century, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has housed more than 95,000 works of art, including the world’s largest collection of Henri Matisse. Its special exhibits showcase works by emerging and established artists from Baltimore and beyond. The BMA recently committed to representing more women and artists of color by acquiring works by the likes of Amy Sherald, Joyce J. Scott, Elizabeth Catlett, Mikalene Thomas and Georgia O’Keeffe. Don’t miss the gorgeous 2.7-acre sculpture garden with works by Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Auguste Rodin and other modern masters. Best of all, general admission is free for all, every day.
Jewish Museum of Maryland
Combining art, historical photographs and artifacts, the Jewish Museum of Maryland is dedicated to telling the story of the Jewish experience in Maryland and throughout the world. Three galleries of changing exhibits explore topics like Cinema Judaica, Paul Simon Words & Music and The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini. The museum also hosts workshops on Jewish folk art and special music programs by artists such as Pete Seeger and The Tribe.
Maryland Center for History and Culture
With 23,000 square feet of gallery space to cover, the Maryland Center for History and Culture is dedicated to bringing Maryland’s history to the forefront through all types of artwork. Their impressive museum collection includes the world’s largest collection of Baltimore Album quilts, a fashion archive spanning four centuries, and nine portraits by Joshua Jackson, known as the first African American artist in the U.S. The museum is always adding and rotating exhibitions, so be sure to check what’s on view before you visit.
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
With permanent exhibitions and special visiting exhibits and collections, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum shows life and history through the eyes of Black Marylanders. It’s one of the largest African American museums in the world, with a collection of about 10,000 objects that focus on the artistic representation of history and culture in the African American community.
Walters Art Museum
If you’re looking for an eclectic museum experience, stop into the Walters Art Museum, to see collections from 36,000 objects from across seven millennia. The extensive collection, including such diverse objects as indigenous artifacts from Latin America, coats of armor, Roman sarcophagi and Fabergé eggs. Don’t miss the popular Chamber of Wonders which contains an intricate display of objects as they would have appeared in the home of 17th century nobleman. And at the Walters, you can not only see great works of art, you can also make them yourself: drop-in art activities are free and open to all ages on Saturdays and Sundays.
Art Galleries to Check Out
Baltimore has an abundance of independent art galleries all over the city.
- Andamento Studio and Gallery specializes in fine art mosaics by Gail Rosen and jewelry designs by Gina Tackett.
- The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower has been a part of Baltimore’s skyline since 1911 and since 2007 has housed artist studios and art galleries winging out from its winding staircase.
- C. Grimaldis Gallery, an institution in the Baltimore art scene, is the longest continually operating gallery in the city. Go here for contemporary and modern works.
- Crystal Moll Gallery, located on the main street of historic Federal Hill, features urban landscape art in Moll’s plein air style.
- Galerie Myrtis in Station North has a reputation for exhibiting cutting-edge work by primarily African American artists who are on the cusp of national and international acclaim.
- The Gallery in Baltimore City Hall is dedicated to showcasing work by Baltimore artists and on themes that tell the story of city life.
- Mahogany Exchange showcases African art, fashion, books and other items.
- MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), the oldest and one of the top art schools in the country, hosts more than 100 exhibitions annually, and has three major on-campus gallery spaces where the public can view work by its talented faculty and students, as well as visiting artists.
- The Metro Gallery is a gritty multipurpose bar and music venue. Head here for rock and metal shows, or to view works by emerging visual artists.
- Motor House is an arts hub in Station North that presents performances and concerts as well as gallery shows spotlighting works by Baltimore artists.
- Renaissance Fine Arts, in the upscale Village of Cross Keys neighborhood and retail center, is a fine art gallery showcasing original works in a range of media, from canvas and paper to sculpture.
- Robert McClintock Studio and Gallery is a retail store and gallery in Fell’s Point filled with colorful, digitally enhanced photography.
- School 33 Art Center is a contemporary art center and incubator for Baltimore artists, with workshops, classes and artist studios.