Museum Resources to Help Make the Most of Your Trip
|Free Lesson Plans||Docent Tours|
|Online Activities||Homeschool Programs|
|Classes/Workshops||Junior Ranger Programs|
|Trunk and/or Travelling Program||Virtual tour|
About the Ft. McHenry:
Let’s start by clearing up one fact: Ft. McHenry is not a Revolutionary War historical site. Yes, a rough star-shaped fort – then known as Fort Whetstone – was dug out in 1776 because the people of Baltimore were worried they’d be attacked by the British during the fight for independence. But, no battle took place along the shores of the fort at that time.
It was not until 20+ years later when the brick walls of the fort were actually built to defend Baltimore – this time against a possible French invasion. Renamed Fort McHenry, the site still did not see its famous military action until the War of 1812, when the British burned Washington DC and then sailed up toward Baltimore and bombs started bursting in mid-air. Now preserved as a Monument and Historic Shrine, visitors to Ft. McHenry can tour the grounds long associated with one of America’s most recognizable songs – the National Anthem.
Whether you plan a self-guided or docent-led tour, you’ll start off at the Visitor Center with a short 10-minute orientation film to help set the historical context. The film is shown two times per hour: on the hour and half-past the hour throughout the day.
Groups that wish to schedule a docent-led field trip should plan 3-weeks – or up to 6-months in advance, depending on the season when you wish to tour.
Plan to spend 1-2 hours touring the fort. Ft. McHenry does not sell food, but you can picnic on the grounds surrounding the Fort.