Museums opening doors for Ramble

April 24, 2006

Washington County's third annual Museum Ramble is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7.

The Ramble, sponsored by the Washington County Association of Museums and Historical Sites (WCAMHS) and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), will include more than 15 local museums and historic sites. Most of the participating museums are opening their doors free of charge and many have surprises planned for the weekend.

The Museum Ramble is a self-guided tour offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6, and from 1 to 5 p.m. May 7. Maps and directions to sites participating in the Museum Ramble are available at the Visitor Welcome Center in downtown Hagerstown.

The WCAMHS and the CVB, along with Icon Graphics, have put together a brochure and map specifically for this year's Ramble. The Welcome Center also will provide complimentary refreshments for the Ramble participants. The guide and map also are available at


"No matter what your interests are - fine arts, rural heritage, American history, black history, religion, geology or trains - you're sure to enjoy a ramble through this year's selection of Washington County museums," according to Museum Association President Bill Knode. "We welcome visitors and residents to take a trip through our county - and see some of our wonderful museums. Start the day with refreshments at the Downtown Hagerstown Visitors Center - and look for surprises at all the museums along the way."

Of Maryland's more than 300 museums, more than 10 percent are in Washington County. The Museum Ramble makes the most of this by welcoming residents and visitors to the county's museums, many of which are private and typically open by appointment only.

This year's Ramble coincides with Washington County History Week, sponsored by the Washington County Historical Society. During that week, The Herald-Mail newspapers will feature daily stories about Washington County's history.

"Washington County is rich in history, and we have a great story to tell," said Mindy Marsden, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society.

The museums and sites participating in the Museum Ramble, and planning special activities, are:

Boonsborough Museum of History

113 N. Main St., Boonsboro - Come see a special display, "Moonshine in Frog Hollow." 301-432-6969.

Bowman House and Boonsboro Historical Society

323 N. Main St., Boonsboro - The Bowman House, built by Jacob Powles, is typical of log houses built in Western Maryland during the first half of the 19th century. In 1868, John Bowman purchased the log house and established the Boonsboro Pottery. His kiln was about 75 feet to the rear of the building. Open 1 to 5 p.m. both days. 301-432-8410.

Christian Heritage Museum

14111 Pennsylvania Ave., Hagerstown - A privately owned collection of historic Bibles, books, manuscripts, sermon notes and documents of Christian history, gathered for the past 25 years in order to preserve, protect, educate, motivate and inspire others to live for Christ. 877-313-9002.

Discovery Station and Hagerstown Aviation Museum

101 W. Washington St., Hagerstown - This "hands-on" learning museum includes exhibits that promote science, technology and local history through displays and programs that are educational and entertaining. Included is Hagerstown's Aviation Museum, exhibits from Maryland's Science Center and more! 301-790-0076.

Fort Frederick State Park

18 miles west of Hagerstown, one mile south of Interstate 70 (Exit 12 at Md. 56) - Maryland's first state park, the fort celebrates its 250th year in 2006. Come see musket- and cannon-firing demonstrations during the Ramble. Refreshments will be served. 301-842-2155.

Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum

300 S. Burhans Blvd. (U.S. 11) - Drinks and cookies will be provided. Come see an exhibit of historic Burma Shave signs, as well as trains for kids. There are many things to see, including a trolley built in 1918, torpedoes for railroad tracks and a lantern designed to measure colorblindness. See the largest display of working model trains in the four-state area. 301-739-4665.

Jonathan Hager House and Museum

Hagerstown City Park - Private frontier fort and the original home of Hagerstown's founder. Built over two springs, the site houses the original Little Heiskell, a large collection of 18th-century antiques and a display of frontier forts. 301-739-8393.

The Mansion House

City Park, Hagerstown - Headquarters for the Valley Art Association. Works from scores of artists are on display in this mansion built in 1846. 301-797-6813.

Miller House and Washington County Historical Society

135 W. Washington St., Hagerstown - Exhibits include papers and historic items from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War and the C&O Canal. Scavenger hunts, crafts for kids, and items from Washington County in the 1940s and '50s. 301-797-8782.

McMahon's Mill Military Museum

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