On Aug. 15, 1814, the painter Rembrandt Peale opened the Museum and Gallery of the Fine Arts on Holliday Street, the first building in the United States constructed specifically as a museum. The inaugural exhibit included a mastodon skeleton excavated by his father, portrait artist Charles Wilson Peale, as well as military artifacts and stuffed birds, animals and fish.
Over the course of its life, the brick building near downtown has seen many different roles, serving for a time as Baltimore’s city hall, then as an African-American school and later, part of the Baltimore City Life Museums. These days, following a restoration, it is the Peale Center, a venue for interactive theater, art exhibits, performances and more.
To celebrate the founding of the original museum, the center is hosting several days of tours, discussions and performances. The events include silhouette cutting, an a capella gospel concert, a talk about how the Peales helped develop the cinema experience and performances of the ongoing “Illuminated: A Surrealistic Garden Party.”
Aug. 15-19, The Peale Center, 225 Holliday St., thepealecenter.org.