The Maryland Women's Heritage Center, one of Baltimore's newest attractions, will open to the public next month.
In the planning stage for three decades, the heritage center tells stories of achievement by women who have been inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame as well as "unsung heroines" who shaped Maryland families and communities. It is an outgrowth of the Maryland Women's History Project, which began in 1980 as a collaborative venture between the Maryland Commission for Women and the Maryland State Department of Education.
The center's executive director, educator Jill Moss Greenberg, calls it "the first comprehensive, state-based center and museum of its kind" in the United States. Greenberg says she hopes that it will serve as "a model that can be replicated and adapted by other states to honor the girls and women in their states."
The heritage center is on the first floor of the 39 West Lexington apartments, in the former Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. headquarters in Charles Center. The space was donated by David Hillman, chief executive of Southern Management Corp., the building's owner. It is the first public home for the heritage center and considered a "temporary location" for use while the nonprofit organization's directors seek funding to create a larger, permanent home.
The heritage center was designed and built by a women-led team, including architects Diane Cho and Anath Ranon of Cho Benn Holback + Associates and Kelly Stockton of Henry H. Lewis Contractors.
Starting June 19, the heritage center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. The center also is available as a meeting place and forum for women's groups and organizations.