Calvert Marine Museum: A unique off-season destination

With summer's crowds gone, now could be the best time to visit. Photo: Cavert Marine Museum

SOLOMONS ISLAND, Md., January 13, 2013 – In the DC-Baltimore metro area, winter is hardly the time of year when thoughts turn toward beaches, boating, or swimming. Unless, of course, such thoughts are directed toward getaways to Florida, Hawaii, or the Caribbean. But winter months on the East Coast are actually an optimal time of year to explore nearby beaches, search for driftwood, visit picturesque bayside or ocean-side towns without the normal crush of tourists, boorishness, and noise—assuming no fresh, frigid nor’easters are on this week’s weather menu. 

Many close-by waterfront restaurants and shops are closed for the winter season, of course. But some venues are open year round for your visiting pleasure. One of the more interesting ones is the Calvert Marine Museum. Located at the water’s edge in picturesque Solomons Island, Maryland, where the Patuxent River widens to become part of Chesapeake Bay, the museum is actually open year-round (with the exception of a few holidays), not just in summery weather. And, true to its own online write-up, it does indeed bring “the maritime history and ecology of Southern Maryland to life through exhibits, programs, lighthouses and boats.” 

The Marine Museum’s surprisingly diverse array of exhibits traces the area’s geography from the time oceans covered much of America’s East Coast—as evidenced by ancient fossils of long-extinct sea creatures—to the present day in which the evolving human geography of our massive coastal population both enjoys and threatens—often inadvertently—the viability of the bay area they now call home.

Artifacts from the earliest American inhabitants to the present are also on display, including a large, three-log canoe and a tobacco press reminding us of Maryland’s key role in early tobacco farming. 

Wildlife students will enjoy the museum’s array of aquariums large and small that display living examples of the bay area’s incredibly diverse aquatic life including animal and plant species inhabiting freshwater rivers, the salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and the brackish waters of those in between areas where fresh water and salt join together in their relentless journey toward the ocean.  

The museum’s signature exhibit, the old Drum Point Lighthouse, actually stands proudly at the edge of the water just outside the museum building itself. Built in 1883, it guided ships from its vantage point on a treacherous shoal at the north side of the Patuxent River as it empties into the bay. Its unusual style boasts a hexagonal lighthouse keeper’s cottage perched firmly atop a sturdy, cast-iron “screwpile” base.

Calvert Marine Museum and historic Drum Point Lighthouse as seen from the water just off Solomons Island, Md.

Automated in 1960 but then deactivated in 1962, it was obtained by the Maritime Museum and relocated and restored at its present Solomons Island location in 1975 where the museum continues to maintain it. It’s now listed on the National Register of Historic places. 

The museum recently issued a release detailing a number of special events being held there during the month of January. Remaining events this month are listed as follows: 

Thursday, January 17

PEM Talks: Sustainable Chesapeake presents Rich Takacs talking about Creating Living Shorelines, 7:00 in the auditorium. FREE.

Friday, January 18

Sea Squirts: Wacky Weather

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Changes Every Day! Special guest Jennifer Anderson from Musik Garten will present the program, sponsored by PNC Bank. FREE program, space limited to 40 people, pre-registration suggested. Call 410-326-2042 ext. 41. 

Sunday, January 20

Sunday Conversations with Chesapeake Authors

Back by popular demand! Richard LaMotte talks about his renowned book on sea glass and sea glass identification. Bring your own finds in for identification; a prize will be given for the best “Glass with a Past.” 2 p.m. in the museum auditorium. FREE 

Sunday, January 20

Jr. Girl Scout Badge Program “In the Bay”

By completing this program, Brownies earn this special badge. Offered from 1-3 p.m. Fee is $11 per participant. Space is limited and pre-registration required. Please call 410-326-2042 ext. 41 to register.

Monday, January 21

OTTER DAY! It’s the otter’s 10th birthday – so help us celebrate! 

Otter Breakfast:  Start your day off with breakfast with the Otters. Learn about otter enrichment, habitat, and the mischief these mammals get into with their playful curiosity. Go behind the scenes to talk with a keeper and observe a feeding. A continental breakfast will be provided. Children must be at least 8 years old and accompanied by an adult to participate. Space is limited, pre-registration required. Fee is $15 per person, $10 for members and includes museum admission. Call 410-326-2042 ext. 41 to register 

Birthday Activities: Once the museum opens, we will have special otter programs and activities throughout the day including creating toys for the otters to play with. The CMM otters will be on hand teaching the otter’s favorite dance, the “Swim”. We will raffle off Original Otter Art and special behind the scenes tours.  Have a piece of otter cake while the otters enjoy their own special birthday cupcakes! Don’t miss this otterly awesome event. Free with museum admission. 

Thursday, January 24 

Little Minnows: Sense-Sationial! Did you hear that? What’s that smell? Look at that color! Come and find out how we use our senses to know the world around us. Children three to five years old can explore the amazing world of the senses,  from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Fee is $4 members; $5 non-members. Pre-registration suggested. Call 410-326-2042 ext. 41.

GENERAL INFORMATION: The Calvert Marine Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Museum members and children under 5 are always admitted free. Admission is $7.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors and military with valid I.D., and $2.00 for children ages 5 – 12.  For more information about the museum, upcoming events, or membership, visit the website at or call 410-326-2042. 


Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times (1994-2009). 

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