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“A Somewhat Underdone But Educational and Historic Site”

Historic St. Mary's City
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Historic St. Mary's City is a museum of colorful living history and fascinating archaeology on the site of Maryland's first capital. The living history exhibits are open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Visitors Center and Shop at Farthings are open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 23 July 2017

Saint Mary’s City is without a doubt one of the most historic places in this whole country, but there are a few dogs in that well of which the prospective visitor should be aware. Ben is not a negative sort of character by any means, and must emphasize that he definitely does not discourage seeing what there is to see.

Beginning at the very nice visitor center one should by all means sit through the video overview. This will cover the archeological efforts, demonstrate the meticulously researched reproduction of the colonial printing press, show persons in periodic costume performing various tasks and so forth. The visitor will receive an excellent map of the village showing the various areas of interest from the hands of a smiling and welcoming hostess.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, especially so with the displays in the visitor center, but in a little over two hours saw noone in colonial attire, found the print shop padlocked, and saw no trace of any archeological activity. At breakfast the next morning, another couple staying at the same B&B stated their desire to visit, prompting Ben to run through essentially the same admonitions. Seeing their disappointment, a waitress did a creditable job of assuaging their fears, ending with the comment that “by and large, I agree with Ben”.

Do, in any case, go to HSMC (their acronym) and be prepared to learn more than you might expect. Just realize that the wealth of the experience may be less than you are led to anticipate. Certainly, check the calendar of events on their website as part of your planning.

Enjoy your visit!

1  Thank Ben_Theretoo406
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"mary's college"
in 14 reviews
"reconstructed buildings"
in 4 reviews
"printing press"
in 4 reviews
"state house"
in 9 reviews
"print shop"
in 4 reviews
"colonial history"
in 3 reviews
"mary's river"
in 7 reviews
"religious tolerance"
in 5 reviews
"plan your visit"
in 2 reviews
"colonial times"
in 2 reviews
"historic place"
in 2 reviews
"natural beauty"
in 2 reviews
"local history"
in 3 reviews
"national treasure"
in 2 reviews
"private tour"
in 2 reviews
"visitor center"
in 4 reviews
"chesapeake bay"
in 3 reviews
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Reviewed 14 July 2017 via mobile

UnGodly hot (heat index over 100 degrees) decreased our enjoyment somewhat; and because this was a real city (rather than a reconstruction), and not everything has been restored, walking between sites is long distances and really difficult for someone with any kind of mobility impairment. But what you see and learn at each site is comprehensive & interesting.

Thank drrobinhh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Regina F, General Manager at Historic St. Mary's City, responded to this reviewResponded 13 November 2017

Thank you for your feedback about your visit. It can be very hot and humid during the summer, making a walking visit challenging. Recently, we were able to acquire two electric golf carts that can carry up to seven visitors and our driver. Please call ahead if you would like to make uses of the "people mover." You may also inquire once you have arrived.

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Reviewed 6 July 2017 via mobile

Overall, we were not impressed. Sure, the history is significant and being to see the city as it may have been was interesting, but it wasn't engaging. This was very much an "it is what you make it" destination. Maybe there are other times when more is going on, but our trip was just walk and read.

Thank Rob C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Regina F, General Manager at Historic St. Mary's City, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2017

Thank you for letting us know about your experience. I am not sure when you were at the museum, but we have shifted to our summer hours and are operating Wednesday-Sunday until September. Typically visitors have high praise for our costumed interpreters and the great interaction they have with our very knowledgeable staff. So I am guessing you might have been here when the living history exhibits were closed. Yes, people are welcome to walk the grounds when we are closed for a "walk and read" tour as you describe. I hope you'll come back and give us another try when we're open!

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Reviewed 27 June 2017

My wife is the fan of historic sites and the like; me, not so much. So we visited St. Mary's City with very mixed expectations. My wife loved it and I found it far more interesting than I anticipated. What made the visit work for me were the docents. All that I spoke with seemed well-informed and handled all my questions with ease and interesting factoids and anecdotes.

Thank Watsson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Regina F, General Manager at Historic St. Mary's City, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2017

Thank you for your comments! We appreciate you taking the time to let us know about your experience. History museums might not be everyone's first choice for a leisure time activity, but we do our best to offer an experience that everyone can enjoy. Our costumed staff are frequently mentioned as the best part of a visit. They are dedicated and knowlegeable - and it shows. Thanks again!

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Reviewed 22 May 2017

Unfortunately the museum was closed on Monday, but we were able to drive around and see some of the old buildings, would have walked around more as it seemed such a great attraction but it was pouring down rain! So it was a bust, but I will definitely return to see this fascinating place.

Thank Dizymaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Regina F, General Manager at Historic St. Mary's City, responded to this reviewResponded 20 June 2017

So sorry you were here when we were closed! We hope you will come back when we're open and enjoy an engaging day of hands-on history in our beautiful landscape. Just so you know, our summer hours begin July 5th and run through September 3rd. The living history sites will be open Wed-Sun from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Shop at Farthing's and the Visitors Center, our introductory exhibit, stay open until 5 p.m. Please check our website for special events and programs!

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