An 18th Century Arts & Architecture Museum in Annapolis, Maryland
The gentleman planter Matthias Hammond began work in 1774 with renowned architect William Buckland on plans for a new, elegant townhouse in the most fashionable area of Annapolis.
An Anglo-Palladian Mansion with the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America
History Buckland immigrated to the colonies in 1755 as an indentured servant to George Mason of Virginia who commissioned him to work on his home, a seemingly modest site called Gunston Hall. The young architect is credited with introducing a variety of designs into mainstream architecture in the colonies. After several successful commissions in Virginia, Buckland ventured to Annapolis, where his hand can be seen at the Chase-Lloyd House. The crowning jewel of Buckland’s career, however, was the house he designed for Matthias Hammond. This house was the only one of his many commissions that Buckland designed and executed in its entirety. He died before the house was finished.
Ironically, the man for whom Buckland erected this masterpiece never lived at the house. In the waning years of the 18th century, the house was rented by many a well-known Annapolitan, including Judge Jeremiah Townley Chase, a one-time mayor of the city. In the 19th century, the elegant mansion was home to the Pinkney and then the Loockerman families. In an uncanny twist of fate, William Buckland’s great-grandson William Harwood married into the Loockerman family, thereby bringing the Buckland clan into the house. William Harwood’s progeny lived at the Hammond-Harwood House until 1924.
Through the Civil War and World War I, the house remained an enduring fixture in Maryland’s capital city. After the death of Hester Ann Harwood in the 1924, the house seemed destined to become a memory. Fighting off bulldozers, St. John’s College purchased the site in 1926 and used it for their decorative arts program, the first of its kind in the country. The economic woes of the 1930s, however, forced the College to search for new owners. Finally, in 1940, the Hammond-Harwood House was purchased by the newly formed Hammond-Harwood House Association. Since then, the site has served thousands of visitors and has become a landmark of colonial architecture.
Architecture the Hammond-Harwood House is a five-part Anglo-Palladian (derived from 16th Italian architect Andrea Palladio) mansion that features some of the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America. It maintains a kind of symmetry and system of proportions that are rarely seen in buildings of this period. While most 18th century structures were fashioned by amateurs and artisans, the Hammond-Harwood house was clearly the work of a trained professional architect.
Decorative Arts the museum proudly showcases the finest collection of colonial furniture in Maryland. With authentic works from Philadelphia, New York, Massachusetts, England, Ireland, and China, the collection represents a broad spectrum of 18th century artistic endeavors.Crafts from Annapolis are also featured in the collection, with special emphasis on cabinetmaker John Shaw whose shop is still standing on State Circle. Today, Shaw pieces can be viewed in almost every room in the house. They include a slant-front bookcase in the Study, an elegant dining room sideboard (an original Harwood family piece), a tall case clock now in the Dining Room, a gaming table covered with a green baize table top, and a host of profoundly beautiful chairs that clearly mark this craftsman as a master of his trade. Visitors can also get a glimpse of the everyday lives of colonial men and women as they are treated to authentic items like an 18th century watercolor set, a period medicine chest, a surveyor’s set of drafting tools, a delicate sewing kit, a pair of colonial spectacles, a child’s furniture set, and a vast assortment of colonial kitchen artifacts.
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Fine Arts of special interest are the many images by portrait painter Charles Wilson Peale whose sensitive touch, delicate brush strokes, and knack for capturing the essence of the sitter made him one of the 18th century’s premier painters. Not only does the museum retain Peale paintings that are original to the house, but the Hammond-Harwood House also exhibits one of the most beloved of Peale’s portraits—a painting of six-year-old Ann Proctor. Time stands still for visitors as they examine, first hand, the doll which he painted in Ann Proctor’s lap over 220 years ago.
Educational Programs designed to teach children the differences between modern and colonial life
Then and Now Program designed for the littlest, most curious, it can be easily adapted for 5, 6, and 7-year old students. The program is divided into three 20-minute sessions:
Session I:Tour of the Herb Garden with show and tell of fresh, fragrant medicinal herbs
Session II: Tour of the Colonial Kitchen with emphasis on differences between modern and ancient
Session III: Students dress in colonial clothing, make hornbooks, write with quill pens, or paint.
Colonial Adventure Tour for 3rd – 5th graders, students step back in time and learn about the lives of the men, women, and children living in Maryland during the 1770s. The tour is divided into two 45-minute sessions. In one session, students tour the colonial mansion and learn the basics about colonial life and history through an open dialogue with our expert guides. In part two, students touch or make several of the things they have seen in the house. Through the use of reproduction artifacts and imaginative, interactive games, students get a direct sense of what it would have been like to be an artist, a furniture maker, a gentry man and lady, a servant, and more. They can write with quill pens, make a sachet, play with colonial toys, paint a miniature portrait, play with colonial cards, build a replica brick wall, experiment with furniture.
To Be Colonial targets grades 6 – 8. The program focuses on the lives of four individuals associated with the Hammond-Harwood House between 1774 and 1820. Students are introduced to two women and two men, all with exceptionally different lives: Matthias Hammond, a colonial gentleman; William Buckland, a Pre-Revolutionary War architect; Frances Loockerman, the daughter of a mayor of Annapolis; and Rachel, a slave. Students learn about these individuals via discussions of politics, slavery, housewifery, food, art and clothing:
Session I: Colonial house tour with focus on the daily lives of four characters
Session II: Examination of primary sources documents including wills and inventories, of reproduction artifacts and clothing. Emphasis on learning through real documents and 18th-century objects.
Reading and Writing History designed to give high school students a hands-on lesson about Colonial American history. The program is divided up into three mini-sessions each with its own goals: a colonial house tour, an introduction to history resources, and a session of hands-on group study. The program covers topics which include common and indentured laborers, slave life, the life of craftsmen, gentry activities and leisure time, decorative arts, and architecture.
Professional Enrichment Tours that focusonsuburban sprawl, declining water quality, diminishing water supplies, vanishing agricultural land, loss of historic character, wildlife habitat degradation, and threatened biological resources. Learn to:
Protect and conserve land and water, natural, cultural and scenic resources;
Create and strengthen local government efforts that support resource conservation;
Improve site planning and design to support resource conservation;
Plan and conserve of natural and cultural resources;
Enhance awareness and knowledge of conservation approaches.
Cultural Itineraries in Annapolis and Maryland