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St. Clement's Island Museum is located along the Potomac River in Southern Maryland. Learn about English colonization of Maryland on nearby St. Clement's Island in 1634.
The Museum focuses on the English history that preceded the voyage to Maryland relating the religious and political issues of the 16th and 17th centuries. You can discover the vision of George Calvert, the First Lord Baltimore, to found a colony incorporating religious Views of St. Clement's Island tolerance and his sons’ implementation of this vision.
You will learn of the voyage of The Ark and The Dove departing from the Isle of Wight in England on the feast day of St. Clement, the patron saint of mariners. Follow the treacherous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, braving pirates and dangerous storms, and their venture up the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac River. Discover Father Andrew White’s written account of the voyage and landing on St. Clement’s Island. View the 7 by 20 foot mural depicting the colonial arrival along with an exhibit regarding their negotiation with the Native Americans for a permanent settlement.
Closed from January through late March and the following holidays:
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
Their reasons for leaving England were simple. For the Catholics aboard the Ark and the Dove, it was to escape persecution and being marginalized socially and economically. For Protestants, it was to seek a better life and like their Catholic shipmates, be open to opportunities the New World offered – opportunities that made the risks worthwhile.
George Calvert, a Catholic, was well-regarded by the English court. The King, James I, St. Clement's Island admired Calvert’s diplomatic skills and knighted him, making him Lord Baltimore. To the Protestant King, Calvert’s Catholicism was not significant, although Catholics throughout England and its Empire were constrained from practicing their religion openly. Nevertheless, Calvert resigned his royal posts and asked the King for a land grant in the colonies where he, his family and others seeking religious freedom could settle. James I died but his successor, Charles I, acceded to Calvert’s request, granting him the land “to the true meridian of the first fountains of the River Pattowmeck.” The land would be named for the wife of Charles I, Henrietta Maria.
George Calvert died before he could visit Terra Mariae, or “Mary’s Land.” His son, Cecil, accepted the charter and made plans for the voyage. Each adult going to Maryland would be granted 100 acres, each child, 50. Indentured servants would receive personal supplies and food.