Current Exhibits

The Museum of Frederick County History is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission tickets may be purchased online or at the door and grant access to all exhibits currently on display in the museum.

Current Exhibits

Stitches Through Time

Women’s Work from Farm to Fashion

The history of textile production in Frederick County illustrates the transformation of home-based work meeting a family’s needs into industrial manufacturing that met wide-spread consumer demand. Over generations, as people migrated from farms to towns – and towns became linked to cities by trains then cars – local retailers reflected the emerging consumer interest with style; general stores were transformed by ready-to-wear clothing. The revolution in America away from customized, handmade textiles that were meant to last a lifetime toward regularly buying new, disposable goods to keep up with the latest fashion trends is a story about consumerism and how women were central to that change.

Stitches Through Time explores one story of women’s work, interpreting the history of textile production up to the 1950s. The exhibit features a beautiful selection of hand-sewn quilts and clothes from the 1800s; equipment, advertising, photographs, and ephemera from the factory era; and selections of mid-20th century clothing by Claire McCardell that reflect the department store culture that emerged after World War II. Ten wedding dresses spanning 120 years showcase the themes in our story.

Stitches Through Time will be on display through December 22, 2023.

The Hagerstown and Frederick Railway

From 1896 until 1954, a network of interurban trolley lines were built linking communities across Frederick and Washington Counties. This exhibit presents the history of these electric railways and how they changed the landscape and communities of Frederick County. View historical photographs and artifacts from the trolleys and a map showing the various routes that comprised the overall system at its height of operation. This display is Heritage Frederick’s 2023 Community Gallery exhibition, presented in partnership with the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Historical Society.

The Hagerstown and Frederick Railway will be on display through December 22, 2023.

Figured and Fancy: Coverlets of Frederick County

A coverlet is a woven textile used as a decorative top on a bed. A weaver used a large loom to manipulate the threads into a finished fabric, rather than hand-sewing. Coverlets typically were a blend of wool and cotton combined into a single layer. Made on large looms, coverlets were nearly always created outside of the home in the shop of professional weavers. In Frederick County, the “figured and fancy” coverlet dominated. The pattern featured curvilinear and realistic designs that included flowers, trees, and animals, which shares a close connection to German symbols incorporated into local quilts, too. View our gallery of four examples of coverlets made by Frederick County weavers between 1830 and 1870.

Figured and Fancy: Coverlets of Frederick County will be on display through December 22, 2023.

Frederick County’s Enduring Crossroads

The history of Frederick County is written at its many crossroads, from rural villages and towns to the city’s Square Corner. Ancient paths of migration and trade established by indigenous peoples before European colonization endure as the nuclei of Frederick County’s oldest settlements. These crossroads have fostered technological innovation, witnessed significant moments in American history, and forged communities which have persisted through three centuries of social, economic, and cultural transformation. This exhibit explores our local crossroads through the themes of community, land, identity, and persistence, and will feature artifacts from Heritage Frederick’s museum and archival collections as well as loaned artifacts from South Mountain Heritage Society in Burkittsville.

Frederick County’s Enduring Crossroads will be on display through December 22, 2023.

Frederick County Tall Case Clocks

Tall case clocks were more than devices for keeping track of time for the people who built and owned them in Frederick County during the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. Representing the hands of many skilled artisans and tradesmen, these clocks were symbols of status and examples of technological advancement. View Heritage Frederick’s collection of tall case clocks, handcrafted by local clockmakers and cabinetmakers between 1760 and 1830. Our online exhibition includes information about the clockmakers and descriptions of these amazing timepieces, as well as examples of their other work including silverware and watches.