Howard County Museums

I’m on a learning kick and wanted to share.  It’s probably because my last semester ended a few months ago and my brain doesn’t know what to do with all this extra free time.  My current M.O. is to check out museums, which makes it great to live so close to Washington DC and all it has to offer. However, as much as I want to learn, I rarely want to drive in DC traffic.  Thankfully, Howard County, it turns out, has plenty of museums to keep me busy for a while. Here’s a few of my favorite museums in Howard County.

Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum

Well, I’m not a rider, although I wish I was.  I tried to take the test once and failed it. Maybe I’ll try again someday.  For now, I’ll just like to look at them. The Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum, located in Jessup,  is pretty cool. The museum is a generous two story, 3,500 square foot building showing off what had to be more than 50 motorcycles and sidecars (and nothing is cooler than sidecars!).  Some of these bikes were from back in the 1920s, and there was one that looked like a cross between a motorcycle and a VW bus. Plus it had some cool BMW artwork, merch and other nifty things to learn about.  The museum is open most Saturdays.

The Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum

The Living Farm Heritage Museum isn’t exactly a single museum. And it’s not technically open everyday or even weekly.  It’s a collection of buildings and barns where you can learn about rural life in the 1800s. Typically, you’d have to make a reservation to get a tour, because they do not keep regular hours.  However, I happened upon this museum when I was invited by a friend to an event, their annual grain harvest. It was a pretty interesting afternoon getting to see many different harvesting machines used over the years, shopping the vendors, watching the live music and more.  They also hold events like car shows, American Indian dance exhibitions, rodeo events, blacksmithing exhibitions and the like. Because of the sporadic schedule they keep, I would strongly suggest checking out their website for event information before you head out there.

The African Art Museum of Maryland

I thought I was getting lost when trying to find this museum, simply because it is close to a residential area, but really it’s just a hidden gem in the Maple Lawn community in Fulton, MD.  The African Art Museum was an unexpected surprise. The art pieces are from many different countries in Africa, and included musical instruments, ivory and wood carvings, stoneware, painting and more.  The curator gave an excellent talk on a few of the special exhibits that were there temporarily.

The Howard County Historical Society Museum

I’m a closet history nerd, so when I came across the museum of Howard County history in Ellicott City, I was smitten.  There is something really cool about learning how the area you live it came to be, how certain places got their names…to me, it’s more interesting because of my familiarity with the area.  Here, you can learn about and see items from the Ellicott family, namesake of the town, and about the Native American tribes that once flourished in our area, or take in some information about the Patapsco Female Institute before heading down the street to see it for yourself.  Even the building itself is a piece of history, a former Presbyterian church built in 1842. They also rotate temporary exhibits a few times a year. I recently went to check out the current exhibit “A River Runs Through It” featuring photos and artifacts of the Ellicott City Floods of 1868, 1952, 1975 and 2016 and it was so interesting.  You can find out more about their exhibits at


These were just a few of my favorites so far. There are so many more, some that I haven’t even explored yet.  For more information on the museums in Howard County, visit