The original Baltimore Children’s Museum was a Baltimore City agency founded in 1976 and was originally housed in the Cloisters, a beautiful historic property located in Baltimore County. The property and structure were generously donated to the City and the Museum operated out of this location for nearly 20 years.
In 1990, the Baltimore Children’s Museum formed its own 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and merged with the Maryland Children’s Museum. The merged entity’s Board of Directors, with the support and encouragement of Baltimore’s Mayor Kurt Schmoke, decided that an Inner Harbor presence was necessary to reach the broadest possible audience of children and families in the Baltimore region, the state of Maryland and the United States.
A 35-million dollar capital campaign, led by the Board of Directors, resulted in the renovation of Downtown’s historic Fish Market building, which became the new home to Port Discovery Children’s Museum in December 1998. The 80,000 square foot facility served as the anchor for the redevelopment efforts of the City in the eastern basin of the Inner Harbor.
In its short history, Port Discovery Children’s Museum has served over 4 million visitors to date and was ranked one of the Top 12 Children’s Museums in the United States by Forbes in 2012.