Plans to Expand at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels has completed its master plan for an expansion which will mean more space for exhibitions, education, and the shipyard.

 A rendering of the planned new facility on CBMM's campus. 

A rendering of the planned new facility on CBMM's campus. 

The master plan is a long-range vision for the Museum that is intended to “greatly enhance the guest experience,” says CBMM President Kristin Greenaway. “The master plan will support CBMM’s mission and world-class maritime museum status by enabling CBMM to offer new and expanded programming.”

Last July, museum and building specialist Ann Beha Architects of Boston was selected to develop CBMM’s master plan. Visioning sessions and gathering input from the community, the museum's Board of Governors and Friends Board, and CBMM staff and volunteers began the planning process.

The museum expects that the three phases of the plan will be carried out within six to eight years. The completion of the phases is contingent on funding, which would come from individual donations, grants, operations, and naming opportunities.

Phase I includes the construction of a new building for exhibitions, a waterfowling exhibition, and the museum's library and archives, as well as Navy Point landscaping upgrades. Demolition of CBMM's Bay History and Waterfowling exhibition buildings, which will be replaced by the new facility, is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019. The museum anticipates that the new building will open in 2020. 

Greenaway says the new facility will provide a safer environment for CBMM's collections thanks to a "higher standard of climate control" and flood avoidance measures. The new building will "move our exhibitions and archival collections above the flood plain. Currently, both our Waterfowling and Bay History buildings are extremely vulnerable to flooding from storm surge events,” she explains.

Expanding the museum's education and Shipyard capabilities will be the focus of Phases II and III. Raising the grade of new buildings and walkways, enhancing outdoor spaces, and relocating the Tolchester Beach Bandstand and the Point Lookout Bell Tower are also addressed in the Master Plan.

CBMM's campus will be open to the public during construction, and specific construction areas which will be cordoned off.

The museum will hold a Community Forum on the evening of June 19 so that the public can learn more about the master plan. To register, click here

 The white shaded portion of this aerial view of the CBMM campus is a rendering of the footprint of the new exhibition/library building. The structure features a shaded porch overlooking the waterfront and the Hooper Strait Lighthouse. Photo: CBMM

The white shaded portion of this aerial view of the CBMM campus is a rendering of the footprint of the new exhibition/library building. The structure features a shaded porch overlooking the waterfront and the Hooper Strait Lighthouse. Photo: CBMM

-Laura Boycourt

Laura Boycourt