Steamboat Era Museum

Steamboat Era Museum

The museum honors the era of the steamboats that piled the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The Chesapeake was the highway for trade, travel and commerce linking small farming and fishing communities to international ports of Baltimore and Norfolk.

Adventures come to life as you view those who traveled the steamers tell their tales through video histories. See the magnificence of these luxurious vessels with oak carved staircases, polished brass, with dining rooms of white linens and silver. Imagine, while viewing one of the dioramas, the sights and sounds of the hustle and bustle at a steamboat wharf as stevedores load cattle and produce, and excited families climb aboard for an adventure to the international port city of Baltimore.

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Image Credit: Steamboat Era Museum


Spring | April 22-June18
Fall | September 9-November 19
Friday-Saturday 10am-4pm

Summer | June 21-September 3
Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm

(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.)


There is an admission fee of $5 for adults.  Children under 12 and active military enter for free.


  • View a short film in our theatre
  • study detailed dioramas of scenes long ago
  • View scaled miniature boat models
  • watch oral histories of adventures into the past
  • learn about our schedule of children's events and 'big kids' cocktail events and lectures

Visit an age when revival camps, canneries and country stores dotted the rivers' shores. See how rural communities were suddenly and forever connected to big cities. Turn a pilothouse wheel and travel a steamboat route from Baltimore to Norfolk and discover the progression of ships from sails to steam. Travel back in time to one of America's greatest untold stories at the Steamboat Era Museum.


The Steamboat Era Museum was established in 2004. It tells the story of the steamboats and how they altered the lives of everyone along the Chesapeake Bay. The steamboats provided an economic lifeline. The cities of Norfolk and, more predominately, Baltimore acted as gateways to the world beyond. The cities provided the markets, the towns provided the goods and the steamboats provided a means to both.

The era is brought to life with models, artifacts, photos . Here you can step back into time; a romantic time full of adventure, splendor and prosperity.


Last updated: July 07, 2022
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