The Peale over the years

One of the rooms on the second floor in the museum. Efforts are underway to raise money for the renovation of the old Peale Museum, a historic building, which was the city's first City Hall.

1778: Rembrandt Peale is born.

1801: Mastodon skeleton is excavated on a New York farm. Later will be Peale's opening attraction.


1814: The Museum and Gallery of Find Arts opens at 225 N. Holliday St. in Baltimore. Grand opening is about a month before the British attack on Fort McHenry.

1816: One of Rembrandt Peale's galleries is lit with gas lamps. Peale soon helps found the Gas Light Co. of Baltimore.


1822: A brother, Rubens Peale, takes over museum operations, bringing in live animals.

1829: The Peale Museum closes.

1830: Baltimore City buys the building for $1,610 to use as the first formal City Hall.

1875: City Council and mayor move out of the building and across street into new City Hall.

1878: Male and Female Colored School No. 1 serving 500 children moves into the space. By 1883, advanced classes are taught and school is officially designated a high school.

1887: City water department takes over building.

1916: Building rented out for shops and factories.

1901: City building inspector calls for building to be razed. Instead, city leaders agree to make repairs.


1928: Building again is condemned, but public outcry leads to major renovation.

1931: Renovated building reopens as the Baltimore Municipal Museum. Features balustrades, marble tile, other appointments from homes demolished to make room for new Enoch Pratt Free Library on Cathedral Street.

1985: Museum becomes part of the City Life Museums.

1997: City Life Museums close.

2008: The Friends of the Peale organization is formed.

2012: The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture expands its board, updates renovation cost estimates and fundraising plan.


Sources: Baltimore Sun archives; the Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture; and booklet by Wilbur Harvey Hunter to commemorate building's 150th anniversary