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Series Information
(Municipal Museum)

Series Description

The Municipal Museum (commonly referred to as the Peale Museum) was created in 1931 following a public protest against the sale and possible demolition of the old museum building. The building was constructed in 1814, the first museum building in the United States, when Rembrandt Peale established "The Baltimore Museum and Gallery of Paintings;" this museum flourished until 1833 when its contents were finally sold and dispersed. This building was used as the City Hall (1830-75), a public school (1876-87), offices of the water board (1887-1915), and for private businesses (1915-28). The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Since 1931 the Municipal Museum has collected paintings, prints, photographs, furniture, and decorative arts related to Baltimore as well as sponsored lectures, publications, exhibitions, and other educational programs on the city's history. In the mid 1950's and through the 1960's the museum was a driving force in the beginning of a historic preservation movement in Baltimore. The museum also operates the Carroll Mansion (1966), the Washington Monument (1967), and the Old Town Meeting House (1968).

For further information on the Municipal Museum see the following articles by Wilbur Harvey Hunter: The Story of America's Oldest Museum Building, Peale Museum Historical Series, no. 8 (Baltimore: Peale Museum, 1964); The Peale Family and Peale's Baltimore Museum, 1814-1830 (Baltimore: Peale Museum, 1965); "The Tribulations of a Museum Director in the 1820s," Maryland Historical Magazine 49 (September 1954): 214-22; and "Peale's Baltimore Museum," College Art Journal 12 (Autumn 1952): 31-36. Other related studies include Thomas S. Eader, "The Carroll Mansion in Baltimore," Antiques 109 (February 1976): 336-44; John C. Schmidt, "Cheek by Jowl with the Real World," Baltimore 60 (February 1967): 24 ff., an interview with Hunter, the Director of the museum from 1946 to 1978; and Helen Straw Whitmore, "The Carroll Mansion, 800 East Lombard Street, Baltimore, Maryland: An Historical and Architectural Study, "M.S., University of Maryland, 1969.

Postscript: Privatized in 1993 and renamed the Baltimore City Life Museum (BCLM), the institution contained four floors of interactive exhibits and galleries at its new 33 S. Front Street headquarters, The BCLM also administered several historical sites in Baltimore. Financial problems, however, plaqued the museum and it closed in 1997. The collections were transferred to the Maryland Historical Society for safekeeping.

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Found 12 total items for this series.
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DateSeries NameDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1931Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes

Correspondence (1940-74) and minutes of the Board of Trustees. Subjects include budgets, exhibitions, gifts, and other concerns.

Minutes are available on microfilm (BCA 173, 178). A subject index for the minutes between 1951 and 1970 is also available.

  Details1967-1978Gifts to the Municipal MuseumAdministrative records of gifts to the museum. Restricted except with permission of the Director of the Municipal Museum.BRG21-2
  Details1969-1979Loans to and from the Municipal Museum

Administrative records of artifact loans to and from the museum.

Restricted except with permission from the director of the municipal museum.

  Details1931-1982Administrative Files

Files of the director containing correspondence, reports, grant applications, and contracts. Includes material on the daily operation of the museum as well as on public programs such as exhibits, publications, lectures, and research requests.

There is a list of file folder headings available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1933-1980Financial RecordsIncludes museum fund records on purchases made by the museum, 1933-79; accounts receivable, 1969-79; budgetary information, 1933-78; federal and state tax returns, 1963-78; receipt books, 1946-79; ledger sheets, 1953-78; and Washington Monument admission and sales accounts, 1968-80.BRG21-5
  Details1946-1981ScrapbooksAssortment of newspaper and magazine clippings, press releases, press releases, programs, invitations, and photographs relating to the museum.BRG21-6
  Details1965-1980PublicityPrimarily news releases of museum activities and upcoming events such as exhibits, dinners, lectures, and receptions. On file of correspondence relating to coverage of the museum by the local media and other outreach efforts. Several newspaper articles about the museum are also included.BRG21-7
  Details1937-1981PersonnelCorrespondence, memos, brochures, minutes of staff meetings, receipts, and miscellaneous supporting documentation relating to museum employees and positions. Subjects include group insurance plans, museum hiring and salaries, retirement and othe benefits, public service employment programs, legal cases involving employees, policies and procedures, and annual charitable contributions.BRG21-8
  Details1964-1978Women's CommitteeMaterial relating to the fund raising and social activities of the museum's women's committee including guest lists, invitations, programs, and correspondence.BRG21-9
  Details1950-1981Individual Personnel Files

Records documenting the employment history of museum staff members. Public service, work study, special projects, and full and part-time employees are represented. Types of material found in the files include entry, change, and cut-off tickets; correspondence, memos; curricula vitae; attendence records; salary calculations; accident reports; and employment-related medical records, withholding certificates, and progress reports.

Use of these records is restricted except with the permission of the director of the Municipal Museum.

The file of photographs of former director Wilbur H. Hunter and of the museum building found in this series has been transferred back to the Peale Museum.

  Details1830HRS RecordsCollection of itemized bills relating primarily to construction of the museum building. Items listed include glass, masonry, lumber, paint, hauling fees, and labor charges.BRG21-11
 Details1967-1978Visitor Registers and Tour Group Appointment BooksBound volumes containing the names and addresses of visitors to the Carroll Mansion and guests at the opening of the "Black Presence" Exhibit (1975) as well as appointment books listing tour groups scheduled to be guided through the mansion. Some descriptions of events held at the Carroll Mansion and maintenance work performed may also be found in the register covering 1971-77.BRG21-12
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