Celebrate Maryland's history and heritage at this block-long museum. One major draw is the original manuscript of "The Star-Spangled Banner," written by Francis Scott Key. It's the centerpiece of an excellent War of 1812 exhibit that also includes guns and personal belongings of Baltimore's "Defenders," as well as the fashions of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known by contemporaries as "the most beautiful woman in 1812 America." The first floor is devoted to an exhibit
about the Civil War in Maryland, which was a powder keg of Northern and Southern sympathies—the War's first blood was shed downtown, on Pratt Street. Other exhibits feature Revolutionary-era paintings by the Peale family and Joshua Johnson, America's first African-American portrait artist. Furniture manufactured and designed in Maryland from the 18th century to the present is on the third floor. A gallery of Baltimore Civil Rights photographs by Afro-American newspaper photojournalist Paul Henderson adjoins the library, which contains 7 million works that relate to the state's history.