Photo: Kate Dumhart/ Calvert Marine Museum

Maritime Museum Reopens with New Exhibits, Wildlife

Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons has just reopened to the public with changes aimed at helping prevent the spread of COVID-19– but visitors will see some more fun additions, too.

The museum now requires mask-wearing for visitors over the age of 2, physical distancing and visitors must follow a one-way traffic flow throughout the exhibits. The museum is also asking visitors to make a reservation ahead of their visit. 

“No more than 75 guests are allowed in the museum at once,” says Anjelica Eitel, communications and marketing coordinator for the museum. Included in that number are reservation slots set aside for members and visitors to the museum store.  

Staggered over the course of the museum’s reopening day last Friday, more than 100 guests in all were happily by greeted by staff, volunteers and residents. “The human members of our team weren’t the only ones who missed visitors,” notes Eitel. “Our three North American river otters, Chumley, Calvert, and Chessie Grace playfully flipped and twirled through the water in their outdoor exhibit, taking breaks to swim up and greet our guests.” 

A new aquatic resident is also greeting guests. A lionfish—a venomous marine fish that preys mostly on small fish and has spiky fins—was added to the exhibits by the estuarine biology team during the closure. 

Another new sight for visitors is in the works. “HERstory, which shares the stories of Southern Maryland women who made significant contributions to their fields, was scheduled to be installed several months ago,” Eitel says. “Due to the museum’s temporary closure, the exhibit was released as a digital download on our website in April. Now that the museum is open, guests can will soon be able to see this impressive exhibit in person.” 

A few exhibits will remain closed to the public. Drum Point Lighthouse and Discovery Room are closed, but a museum exhibits interpreter will be at the base of the lighthouse to answer questions. Some of the high-touch areas of museum will also remain closed. 

One of the museum’s most popular draws, the Waterside Music Series, which brings live music to the outside pavilion will return later this year in the form of a new exhibit. 

“The series began as a small community fundraiser and has evolved into an event that attracts thousands of guests to enjoy the music industry’s top talent,” Eitel says. “When it is rolled out later this year, there will be behind-the-scenes photos, performer memorabilia and backstage stories.” 

Reservations are available on the museum website in two-hour slots.

Calvert Marine Museum is just the latest popular Bay maritime museum to reopen its doors. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels reopened June 29 with the addition of sneeze guards, contactless transactions, and plentiful chances for social distancing on its 18-acre campus with its floating fleet of historic vessels and four outdoor exhibits.

The Havre de Grace Maritime Museum is also open with limited hours, and Nauticus/ Battleship Wisconsin in Norfolk reopened 4th of July weekend. The Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art just announced it reopens July 22, and will offer special hours for seniors and other vulnerable populations.

-Krista Pfunder