Chances are that you’ve visited your share of art galleries and historical societies and dutifully stocked up on officially designated cultural treasures. But which gives you a better feel for the real George Washington — the iconic oil painting of the dignified man hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, or the worn-down and yellowing dentures made from hippopotamus ivory that the Founding Father wore as part of his lifelong battle against tooth decay?
In the gallery above, you'll find a list of off-the-beaten-path museums in Maryland that feature such treasures. Some, such as the National Museum of Dentistry where those Washington dentures are on display, may make you smile (thereby displaying your own choppers). Others, such as the Star Toys Museum run out of a home in Linthicum, are testimony to their creator’s private passions. Visiting may take more planning, as several are open only on weekdays or by appointment.
But all provide an up-close-and-personal look at a unique and specialized corner of the world.
A word of caution: Unless stated otherwise, the museums listed are open on weekdays. But schedules change, so if you’re planning to stop by it’s best to call or email in advance.