Current Exhibits

The Museum of Frederick County History is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Click here to purchase admission tickets for all of our current exhibits.

Current Exhibits

Brushes with History

Inspiring the Personality of Frederick

With brush in hand, artists have captured people, landscapes, historical events, everyday life, and the interests of Frederick County residents for nearly three centuries. With scenes of fields and mountains, church spires and covered bridges, their body of work has shaped the popular image of our cities and towns and given birth to a vibrant art community that is vital to the social and economic health of Frederick County.

Brushes with History: Inspiring the Personality of Frederick features the works of a few of the most notable artists who have worked in Frederick County. With beautiful paintings of the County’s landmarks and natural splendor, our story explores the ways in which the visual arts provided economic opportunity to individuals and communities. As we admire their talents captured on canvas, porcelain, metalware, and other media, we celebrate the role these artists have played in shaping our communities both past and present.

Brushes with History: Inspiring the Personality of Frederick will be on view from March 1, 2024 until December 14, 2024.

The Kleins

by Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson is considered America’s first Black portrait artist. He was born enslaved in 1763 to a White farmer and an enslaved Black woman in Baltimore County, Maryland. Johnson’s father purchased him at one year old and raised him, eventually helping Johnson learn blacksmithing and freeing him. Johnson lived as an adult in Baltimore City and turned to painting portraits, usually of the merchants, government officials, and ship captains who lived nearby.

Among Johnson’s sitters were the family of E. Frederick and Anna Klein. Klein operated a bakery on Pearl Street in Baltimore, around the block from Johnson’s home. The Kleins remained in Baltimore until 1840 when they relocated to Frederick County. Scholars attribute about 90 surviving paintings to Johnson, and Heritage Frederick is pleased to share two from its collection.

The Kleins, by Joshua Johnson will be on view from March 1, 2024 until December 14, 2024.


Capturing Memories in Frederick County

The adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” has been proven true since humans began recording events and stories on the walls of caves. Later, as we perfected recording events with writing and printing, capturing images mechanically remained elusive. The advent of photography in the 19th century made it possible for images to be captured in a reliable and repeatable manner. Technological innovations further democratized the ability to capture memories and commit them to a visual and enduring medium. 

In Frederick County, photographers employed the latest technologies to record images of people, landscapes, everyday experiences, and momentous historical events. Between 1840 and 1920, over thirty photographers are known to have worked in Frederick County. This exhibit explores this technological evolution and features reproductions of photographs taken in the county over a sixty year period by local photographers.

Photography: Capturing Memories in Frederick County will be on view from March 1, 2024 until December 14, 2024.

24 East Church Street

A Home for Frederick County’s History

Constructed between 1824 and 1826, the Federal styled building which Heritage Frederick has called home since 1960 has a multi-generational link to Frederick County’s history. The very ground on which the building stands can be traced back to the ownership of John Thomas and Margaret Schley, Frederick’s first permanent European settlers. Before their arrival, it was home for thousands of years to Indigenous people who inhabited the Monocacy River Valley.

This exhibit explores the varied experiences of the people who called this building home, from its builders and owners to enslaved people who worked at the property and orphaned girls who grew up in this house. 24 East Church Street is an evolving story, informed by artifacts, ongoing documentary research, and archaeological efforts on this property at the heart of Frederick.

24 East Church Street: A Home for Frederick County’s History is a long term exhibition.

Etchison Connections

A Family’s Hand in Frederick’s Evolution

Frederick County was built through the ingenuity, determination, and vision of generations of local families like the Etchisons. From the end of the Civil War through the mid-twentieth century, three generations of Etchisons were integrally involved in the industrial, civic, and commercial development of Frederick. Etchison Connections explores the family’s furniture and undertaking business, involvement with fraternal organizations, industries, civic institutions, and the public library as well as the stories of their colleagues in these endeavors.

A lasting legacy of the Etchison’s place in Frederick’s story is the extensive collection of artwork, antique furniture, archival resources, and a unique assemblage of early-nineteenth century lusterware which were given to Heritage Frederick by the Estate of Marshall Lingan Etchison in 1960. These beautiful artifacts of Frederick’s history are displayed in concert with the Etchison’s story in this exhibit.

Etchison Connections: A Family’s Hand in Frederick’s Evolution is a long term exhibition.

Frederick County Decorative Arts

Since the earliest days of European colonization, Frederick County has been a crossroads of diverse cultural experiences and traditions. Frederick’s position as a market town in the growing Piedmont Region of eighteenth century Maryland encouraged skilled artisans and craftspeople to settle and work in this community. The material culture of our county, from everyday utilitarian goods to finely-crafted luxury furnishings, reflects the blending of skilled English, German, and African craftwork and decorating styles.

Upon this foundation, generations of cabinetmakers, glassblowers, clockmakers, artists, potters, and textile manufactures continued producing both fine and utilitarian goods for centuries thereafter. Frederick County Decorative Arts illustrates this rich tradition with locally-produced furniture, clocks, glassware, silverware, metalwork, textiles, and portraiture.

Frederick County Decorative Arts is a long term exhibition.

Continue Exploring Frederick County's Story