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Smithsonian On The Go: The Can’t-Miss Maryland Exhibition You Have to See (Twice) On Their Traveling Tour

Photo credit: Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area

Skip the lines in D.C. and add this traveling exhibition in historic Maryland to your calendar. Presented by the Smithsonian Institution and Maryland Humanities through the Museum on Main Street program, The Way We Worked explores Maryland’s unique labor history.

Tailored to their specific locations, the Carroll County Farm Museum and Brunswick Heritage Museum will host their own complementary exhibits, included with the price of regular museum admission – so make sure to attend both locations for the full experience.

Carroll County Farm Museum

May 26 – July 14

Photo credit: Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area

Located in Westminster, the Carroll County Farm Museum exhibit will discuss the thriving wormseed oil industry of the early 20th century. For more than a century, Carroll County dominated as the reigning wormseed oil capital of the world, using the unique cash crop to cure hookworm disease in animals and as a wood preservative when painting Baltimore clipper ships. Forty-seven Carroll County wormseed distilleries existed in 1927 with annual production of 90,000 pounds – a confusing and amusing fact for county visitors during the Prohibition Era who mistook the distilleries for illegal alcohol production. Modern synthetic medicine rendered the lucrative wormseed oil obsolete, but the exhibit pays tribute to the farmers and families who made wormseed their livelihood for generations. (Bonus: be sure to check out the two new craft distilleries that perfectly fit the historic aesthetic of the county, MISCellaneous Distillery, serving up rum and rye whiskey, and the Patapsco Distilling Company, maker of small batch premium spirits. It ain’t Prohibition anymore.)

Brunswick Heritage Museum

July 21 – September 8

Photo credit: Kurt Holter

Train enthusiasts simply must pay a visit to this iconic museum. Nestled along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, the town of Berlin (now Brunswick) witnessed the construction of one of the oldest railroads in the United States. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began construction in 1828 and reached Brunswick by the early 1830s, transforming the surrounding area into a bustling center of activity. The B&O played a huge part in the Civil War, serving as the site of a few significant skirmishes, as well as moving soldiers and supplies. Trains carried important information to the military, government and media via the B&O, helping secure a Union victory. Year-round, the museum chronicles the lives of railroaders and their families, but this theme will be further explored with the exhibition on the town’s transportation industry. Make your way through the late Victorian rooms and don’t miss the 1,700-square-foot scale model railroad on the third floor, depicting the west end of the rail yard all the way to Union Station in Washington, D.C.

For more information on both exhibits, places to stay and other things to do in historic Maryland, visit heartofthecivilwar.org.