5 Unique Museums to Visit Around the Chesapeake Bay

The Massey Air Museum. Photograph courtesy of Massey Air Musem.

Tuckahoe Machine Shop Museum

This place boasts some serious heavy metal: vintage tractors, steam-powered machinery, and a machine shop full of antique industrial lathes, drill presses, and mills. Also on the property is the Rural Life Museum, which has a recreated general store and farmhouse kitchen that looks as if it were ripped from the set of The Waltons.

Don’t miss: The Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Association Show, held annually the weekend after July 4, brings antique truck and tractor pulls, steam- and gas-engine exhibits, and live music to the grounds. 11472 Ocean Gateway, Easton; 410-822-9868.

Massey Air Museum

This working airfield/museum harks back to a day when rural airfields dotted the Eastern Shore. The property has a grass runway and a couple of hangars full of vintage airplanes, including a DC-3 you can tour.

Don’t miss: Biplane rides, $120 for 30 minutes, depart two weekends a month spring through fall; 410-535-4136. 33541 Maryland Line Rd., Massey; 410-928-5270.

Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum

More than 100 years ago, Washingtonians would pay 50 cents for the 28-mile train ride to Chesapeake Beach to relax on the sand. (Trains departed several times daily during summer from a station in Northeast DC’s Deanwood neighborhood, where Minnesota and Nannie Helen Burroughs avenues meet.) The museum captures the era through hundreds of photographs and artifacts from the rail line, defunct since the Great Depression.

Don’t miss: The museum itself is housed in the line’s last remaining depot, which dates to 1900. 4155 Mears Ave., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-3892.

Reedville Fishermen’s Museum

The fishing industry created Reedville, Virginia—including opulent Victorian houses that once belonged to prominent boat captains—so the town created this museum to showcase and preserve the heritage of what continues to be the highest-producing commercial fishing port on the East Coast. The museum has myriad indoor and outdoor exhibits on the growth of the menhaden industry—the small, oily fish that’s been used in everything from lubricants to fish-oil capsules—and the waterman’s way of life.

Don’t miss: The free cruise on the Elva C., one of the museum’s historic boats docked along Cockrell’s Creek. 504 Main St., Reedville; 804-453-6529.

Delmarva Discovery Center & Museum

The Delmarva Discovery Center & Museum is a kid-friendly look at the ecology and history of the lower Eastern Shore, with plenty of hands-on activities. Children (and their parents) can try tonging for oysters, taking the wheel of a two-story steamship replica, or crawling through a beaver lodge.

Don’t miss: Scorchy the diamondback terrapin is a museum favorite—at least until a pair of river otters, scheduled to arrive this summer, take center stage. 2 Market St., Pocomoke City; 410-957-9933.

This article appears in our July 2016 issue of Washingtonian.