Learn more about historical societies on the Mid Shore and how they support genealogy research, provide historical exhibits, and rely upon volunteer assistance, and much more.
Historical Society of Kent County
The Bordley History Center, 301 High Street, Chestertown
PO Box 665, Chestertown, Maryland 21620
Executive Director: Erika Q. Sturgill
410-778-3499 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The Historical Society of Kent County (HSKC) was founded in 1936 to preserve and disseminate information pertinent to local heritage. In 1958, the HSKC purchased the Geddes-Piper House that was threatened by demolition. The rehabilitation of the structure was a touchstone for significant strides in restoration and establishment of a recognized Historic District, which became a National Landmark District. Gifted a commercial building in the heart of downtown Chestertown in 2014 at 301 High Street by the family of Ellen Bordley Schottland, HSKC opened the Bordley History Center in 2015 with a museum and gift shoppe on the first floor and a research library and offices on the second floor.
The HSKC shares local history by way of exhibits and displays, lectures, presentations, book signings and presentations, historical research, and producing new publications while always striving to research the shared and collective past. A non-profit, membership driven organization, the HSKC participants in and hosts a number of events, fundraisers and activities throughout the year and has successfully utilized forced downtime of the COVID pandemic to restructure and reinvigorate future offerings.
HSKC participates in First Fridays (as CDC Guidance allows), frequently with guest speakers, presenters, special exhibits, authors, or lecturers. Regular events and several special events and presentations are being organized when safety protocols will allow related to the 250th anniversary of America in 2026. Walking/Driving Tours and Legacy Day activities are being planned and organized as well as exhibits on the Almshouse (February/March 2022); Farms and Plantations (April/May); Community Building by Persons of Color (June/July); Legacy Day (August); Agro-Economy & Agri-Tourism (September/October).
HSKC is always thrilled to welcome volunteers to serve in docent roles, guide and improve research, develop exhibits and assist with genealogical, or architectural queries, as well as aiding with special events and activities and helping develop new events.
Caroline County Historical Society
Museum of Rural Life, 16 North Second Street, Denton
President: JOK Walsh
443-448-4720 • email@example.com
The historical society is located in the Museum of Rural Life, known as the Historic Taylor-Brown House, circa 1819. Being a landlocked county relying on an agricultural-based economy, the society offers visitors a glimpse into its history with an exhibit of four historic dwellings: Taylor-Brown House, Painter’s Range, Chance’s Desire, and Skillington’s Right in addition to other exhibits. Current projects include the Caroline Digital History Project in collaboration with Choptank River Heritage, maintaining exhibits, and protecting historic buildings in the county. The historical society is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from April through November.
Ridgely Historical Society
(a Chapter of the Caroline County Historical Society)
Old Ridgely Library, 4 West First Street, Ridgely
P.O. Box 155, Ridgely, Maryland 21660
President: Cathy Schwab
410-991-8225 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ridgely Historical Society was founded in 2005 to promote public awareness and appreciation of the history of Ridgely and Caroline County. The Ridgely Chapter collects, preserves, and makes available to the public, historical records and artifacts of local interest. The chapter encourages historical inquiry, historical preservation and supports scholarly research, believing that an understanding of the past will illuminate the present and provide vision for the future. Hours by appointment only.
The Ridgely Historical Society will have the Town’s 1892 Railroad Station open the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., May through September. See special items on display and enjoy Ridgely history. Take photos in front of the 1931 Reading Caboose 92813. For tours, call Rick and Cathy at 410-991-8225. Tours are also available of the Old Ridgely Library (1934-1961), which is now home to the Ridgely Historical Society. All tours are by appointment only.
The 1937 one room Telephone Exchange Building, located in Ridgely’s Railroad Memorial Park, adjacent to the rails-to-trails walking/biking path, is open to the public for self-guided, free tours daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April through October. Key highlights of research available to the public include journals, newspaper articles from Caroline Sun (Ridgely’s newspaper 1902-1959), residents’ photos, memorabilia, and more.
Preston Historical Society
Historic Noble House, 167 Main Street, Preston
President, PHS Board of Directors: Linda Fletcher
410-924-9080 • email@example.com
On Facebook and Instagram @Preston Historical Society
The Preston Historical Society was founded in 2014 to preserve the history of the town of Preston and the surrounding communities of Bethlehem, Choptank, Harmony, Jonestown, Linchester, and Tanyard. The society maintains its museum at the historical Noble House, built in 1833. The museum houses a wide variety of objects reflecting the history of Preston and its surrounding communities displayed on two stories of the Noble House, in the retail space added to the property during the 1990s and in a separate garage.
The museum maintains a reference library that includes old newspapers, newspaper clippings, photos, family histories, and books covering local history. The museum also contains a library of DVDs produced by the society that include interviews with local residents and recordings of past guest speakers presenting on a wide variety of historical topics.
The museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from early spring to the first weekend of December, and also by appointment. It is closed for some holiday weekends. The Preston Historical Society Museum (PHSM) reopens for the season on Saturday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a membership meeting taking place at 10:30 a.m., with guest speaker George Holder giving a presentation on vintage dye cast toy cars, including Matchbox and Hot Wheels. Other antique and vintage toy collections will also be on display. The public is invited to attend all membership meetings. PHSM will again host its New to You Rummage Sale beginning with a preview night with a $5 admission fee on Thursday, April 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. The sale will continue Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with no admission fee. PHSM is the location for the Caroline County Garden Club’s flower show on Friday, May 13.
Over the course of its operating year, the society hosts membership meetings, generally scheduled on the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m., to which the public is invited, hosts speakers at both its membership meetings and special presentations, and features events, including its annual Ice Cream Social in August and Christmas Open House the first Saturday in December.
The society has more than 8,000 objects, transcripts, documents, photographs, and books in the collection. The society is always in need of volunteers for a variety of tasks, including serving as docents on Saturdays and at special events, aiding in inventory processing, grant writing, and in helping complete ongoing maintenance of the museum and grounds. If interested in volunteering, call 410-924-9080.
Talbot Historical Society
25 and 30 South Washington Street, Easton
General Manager: Peggy Morey
410-822-0773 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The Talbot Historical Society (THS) was founded in 1954. Seeking a balance between growth and preservation, the Talbot Historical Society stands among the organizations formed by citizens to preserve the heritage of the Eastern Shore. THS’ responsibility is to contribute to the quality of life in the county by providing all who are interested in an opportunity to learn our rich history and to share in the experience of life here through the ages. Its mission is to provide educational opportunities to the citizens of the country so they may learn from the past and use that knowledge to build a future that preserves Talbot County.
THS actively collects and accepts items of cultural or historical value for its permanent collection of materials that document and represent the cultural history of Talbot County. The society currently collects four categories of materials: artifacts (6,365), photographic materials (55,200), archival materials (5,820), and books (2,330). The Hill Research Center is open to the public all year from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., by appointment only, with access to the entire database along with library and research materials. The society is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from April through December.
THS offers historic walking tours the third Saturday of every month from April through November. A monthly lecture called “A Date with History” is open to the public. Check Facebook and Instagram for updates. The annual members’ meeting is in May and the fundraising gala is in September.
The Talbot Historical Society has a small staff that works to help the society fulfill its mission. Due to its size, volunteers are relied upon to help docent, research, maintain building and grounds, along with public education outreach. For details, call 410-822-0773.
Queen Anne’s County Historical Society
Tucker House, 124 South Commerce Street, Centreville
P.O. Box 62, Centreville, Maryland 21617
Tucker House (circa 1794) was donated to the historical society in 1968. It houses the society’s office and collection of genealogical records, furniture from several periods and the garden is maintained by the Queen Anne’s Garden Club. Membership supports history and heritage projects, scholarships, events, and house restoration projects, all of which support the society’s mission to interpret and disseminate information about Queen Anne’s County. To view documents and the collection at QACHS historical sites, schedule an appointment via Facebook @Queen Anne’s County Historical Society.
Membership allows the community to participate in the board selection, gathering community resources, and other matters related to the by-laws. Membership is $35 annually, donations are encouraged and appreciated.
Upcoming projects include the repurposing of Wright’s Chance; creating new partnerships; a grant focusing on a musical and historical look to 1950s and 1960s music clubs from the region; and Wright’s Chance Community Use project.
The Historical Society is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization. The backbone of the organization is based on the volunteer efforts of the community. Volunteers are needed for research and genealogy; yard work; working on the collections; graphic design and technology with a Digitization Project; and event planning. For more details, email Jennifer Moore at Jmooreprs2007@gmail.com or Erica Kriegisch at email@example.com. Find timely announcements on Facebook @Queen Anne’s County Historical Society.
Dorchester County Historical Society
Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester, 1003 Greenway Drive, Cambridge
Administrator and Collections Manager: George M. Anderson
410-228-7953 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The society was formed in 1953 by a small group interested in preserving the rich history of the region. In 1959, the group purchased an historic house, circa 1760, which was named Meredith House. By the mid 1970s, more space was needed and in 1981, the Neild Museum was dedicated. It houses a broad collection of artifacts that illustrate farm life from colonial times to the present. In the mid 80s, a stable was moved to the campus as well as a stronghouse. In 2007, the Robbins Heritage Center was added and holds exhibits highlighting the historic timeline of the county with interpretations about Native American history, early settlers, indentured and enslaved people, hunters, and more.
Today the Todd Research Center, located in the Robbins Heritage Center, is useful for those doing genealogy research as it houses a broad selection of reference materials including books, atlases, compilations and transcriptions, photographs, ledgers, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and more.
The campus is open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers are needed to assist with library tasks, research, filing and more. Volunteers are also needed for maintenance, cleaning, docents, greeters, clerical help, exhibit production, newsletter, events and fundraising.