The Baltimore City Department of General Services and The Peale Center will receive a Stewardship Award from Preservation Maryland for their joint undertaking to repair and rejuvenate ca. 1814 Peale Museum in the heart of Baltimore City. Accepting the award at the Best of Maryland Awards in May will be representatives from the Baltimore City Department of General Service, The Peale Center, SM+P Architects, Ruff Roofers, and C&H Restoration.



The Peale Museum exterior restoration was a joint undertaking by the Department of General Services and The Peale Center to stabilize and protect the Peale Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Baltimore City. Constructed by the artist Rembrandt Peale in 1814, this building is of high historical significance locally and nationally. At various times in its history, this building served as the first purpose-built museum in North America, the founding place of the first gas street light company in America, the first Baltimore city hall, the first public high school open to African American students in Maryland, and the Baltimore Municipal Museum. The building has remained continuously owned by the City of Baltimore since its purchase in 1830 but sat vacant for nearly twenty years after the Baltimore City Life Museums went bankrupt in 1997. In 2014, DGS entered into a lease agreement with the Peale Center and has worked in public-private partnership to restore and reopen the Peale Museum to the public. In 2018, DGS and the Peale Center completed the exterior stabilization of the building envelope.

Celebrate the Best with the Best: You are invited to celebrate the restoration and opening of The Peale Center and all of the remarkable awardees at the Preservation Maryland Best of Maryland Awards on Thursday, May 16, 2019 under the vintage neon lights of Glen Echo Park in Montgomery County! Tickets start at just $20 and include a spin on the historic Dentzel Carousel.


This project was aimed at protecting the interior of the building from water infiltration and restoring its physical appearance, which had badly deteriorated after decades of neglect. The project scope included the construction of a new roof, masonry preservation, and window/door preservation. The old 1930s tin roof was removed and replaced with a custom-built standing seam copper roof. This roof was specially designed by SM+P Architects as a historically accurate roof in both its appearance and method of construction. Craftsmen at Ruff Roofers built this roof using the traditional method of field-forming short pans of terne-coated copper. The craftsmen who worked on this project won the    Baltimore Building Congress & Exchange (BCE) craftsmanship award for 2018. In addition to the roof, the brick chimneys were carefully deconstructed and rebuilt. The exterior stone and brick masonry were repointed and cleaned.

Then, the windows, doors, and exterior woodwork were all carefully restored to preservation standards by C&H Restoration. Window sashes were removed and restored, including paint stripping, repair, re-glazing, and operable reinstallation. Severely damaged window components were carefully replicated and milled to the exact specifications of  the originals. Original rare manganese-glass was carefully salvaged from the sashes, cleaned, and reinstalled on the first story windows. Eight layers of paint were stripped from the wood façade and cornice, which was then repaired and repainted.

A 1970s glass enclosure around the loggia was removed to restore the loggia’s original entrance configuration and appearance. The stone steps were repointed, repaired, and cleaned. With help from BGE, the historic gas lamps outside the entrance were relit and are again operable. The masonry walls, pavers, and metalwork in the garden in the rear were repaired and restored in partnership with the HOPE Crew of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This crucial project halted water infiltration into the building and protected this cultural treasure for many years to   come. The lifespan on the roof alone is estimated at 80-100 years. Funding was provided by the Department of General Services in the amount of nearly $750,000. Additional funding was raised by the Peale Center in the amount of

$350,000 from the State of Maryland and private donors. The building has now resumed operations as The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture, a cultural commons and a new kind of museum for the 21st century, based in the oldest museum building in the United States. Through community-led cultural storytelling and programming, the Peale helps people see Baltimore in a new light by enabling its creators and culture-keepers to produce and share new and  more inclusive narratives of the City, its places, and the diverse people who have made Baltimore what it is today.

Visit the Peale Center

Attend the Best of Maryland Awards