Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry

Credit: Visit Baltimore

While your adult group is in the Baltimore area, you should consider visiting Fort McHenry. It is primarily known for its role in the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, when American troops stopped a British invasion. It was during this bombardment of the fort that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner. The poem was later put to music and became the national anthem of the United States. During the American Revolution, Baltimore was an important naval center and in the spring of 1776 a battery of 18 guns was erected on Whetstone Point in order to guard the entrance to the harbor. This was the beginning of Fort McHenry. Group members can check out exhibits, watch an orientation film, and walk around the fort as part of the experience. The fort was named after James McHenry who was the Secretary of War during the War of 1812.


Your group visit to Fort McHenry should begin in the Visitor Center. The center has exhibits, a gift shop, and shows an orientation film about the history of the fort. There are different museums which include the fort, barracks, and related structures. The barracks contain several exhibits such as the Enlistmen’s Quarters, uniform and weapons displays, videos, the Junior Officers’ Quarters, a powder magazine and the 1814 Guard House. The location also hosts special events throughout the year. In the summer months, visitors can enjoy Living History Programs. Fireworks are featured each year during the Flag Day and Defenders’ Day celebrations at the fort.

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