Museum Time Machine: The Peale Center (Museums in Strange Places S01 E04)

There’s a time machine in downtown Baltimore on Holliday Street. A time machine that will take you back to the origin of public collections of art, history, and science…and then zip you through the present and into the future of museums. The Peale Center, the oldest purpose-built museum space in the US, is starting its third century as a building and its third life as a museum after decades of sitting vacant. But history isn’t repeating itself here. Executive Director Nancy Proctor wants it to be a cultural commons, a storytelling platform, and an experimental lab for the art of the 21st Century museum.

All music in this episode is by Outcalls.



This episode is sponsored by The Lyndhurst Group. The Lyndhurst Group is a history, museum, and nonprofit consulting firm providing community-focused engagement strategies for institutional planning, organizational assessments, and interpretive direction.


Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits


How to Listen to Museums in Strange Places

Welcome to Museums in Strange Places. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, a museum consultant specializing in podcasting for museums, and this is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world.

In this season of the podcast, I’m visiting the museums of Maryland to discover what stories they hold and how they reflect and shape this state’s unique cultural identity.

You can find and follow me/the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @hannah_rfh (I love to hear from listeners FYI).

The podcast is available on all podcast players and apps, just search “Museums in Strange Places” on any podcast listening platform:



Learn More

Rembrandt Peale, self portrait

Entry on Charles Wilson Peale’s Museum in Atlas Obscura

Rembrandt Peale and George Washington, a blog post from Mount Vernon

Submersive Productions Website

More on the architect, Robert Carey Long, Sr. 

Below: Mama Linda Goss, photos and audio from storytelling session in The Peale

Photos of The Peale

Front of the building.

Exterior of the building

Entryway to the museum.

Storytelling room where Mama Linda Goss is in residence.

Nancy Proctor, Executive Director of The Peale

A painting of Charles Wilson Peale and his sons excavating mastodons.

A painting of Charles Wilson Peale in his museum in Philadelphia.

Mural of Titian Peale’s watercolor painting of Charles Wilson Peale’s museum in Philadelphia.

Large gallery room that with natural light that would have been a picture gallery.

Large room in The Peale.

Ursula Marcum, co-creator of Submersive Productions

Submersive Productions lab, theater experience being built.

Exterior of the museum

“Sassy Toes,” the mastodon puppet.

Executive Director Nancy Proctor lights a gas chandelier.

The oldest architectural sculptures in the country, in The Peale’s courtyard garden.

Preservation students from Morgan State University working on restoring the garden.

Next door to The Peale

The new City Hall building down the street.

Sign on the exterior of the museum building


  1. Alison

    I must confess, when I think of Baltimore, I think of John Waters! This sounds (and looks) like an incredible place. I loved that the Peale brothers (?) were called Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian.

    • Hannah Hethmon

      As you should! For that side of Baltimore, check out episode 1 of Season 2, the American Visionary Arts Museum.

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