Discovering Baltimore History

The National Park Service invites you to travel the historic sites of Baltimore. Located on a harbor, the city relied on boats and ships to bring goods and people in and out of the region. Its close proximity to the water also made Baltimore vulnerable to attack during the War of 1812.  Explore Fort McHenry and the Flag House and learn about how the battle inspired the Star-Spangled Banner - our national anthem.  Visit the many ships docked in the city’s harbor to discover how water travel shaped our nation’s history. From Junior Ranger activities to military warships, there is something for everyone in Baltimore!

Interested in discovering more neighborhoods in Baltimore? Launch your exploration with the Baltimore National Heritage Area site.

Explore more Discover our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries and learn about our diverse heritage by visiting Telling All Americans' Stories.

1814 bombardment of Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, by British ships

Trip Idea: Battles, Banners, and Boats

Discover and explore the history of Baltimore by visiting famous places associated with the city's harbor.

Aerial view of Fort McHenry

The Rockets’ Red Glare: TwHP Lesson Plan

Learn about the Battle of Baltimore and the creation of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag – the inspiration for our national anthem.

1940s black and white photo depicting several ships on the ocean.

Liberty & Victory Ships:TwHP Lesson Plan

Discover how the United States mobilized a massive construction effort to build a large merchant fleet to serve in war and peace.

Photograph of Mary Pickersgill: small glasses, black hair, white bonnet

Mary Pickersgill

Learn about the woman who sewed the Star-Spangled Banner Flag.

An older Frederick Douglass with white hair, sitting.

Frederick Douglass

As a child, Frederick Douglass was sent to live in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood where he began to dream of freedom.

USCGC Taney docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

USCGC Taney

The USCGC Taney is the only surviving ship that defended the Pearl Harbor navy base on December 7, 1941.

USS Torsk painted as a shark docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

USS Torsk

A Tench class submarine built for World War II, the USS Torsk prevented supplies from reaching Japan, which contributed to a US victory.

SS John Brown on the water

SS John W. Brown

This ship is one of two surviving operational Liberty ships that kept supply lines open to US troops and allies during World War II.

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