Baltimore Public Works Museum

Museum
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Editorial Review

It's a good thing this place was not named the Infrastructure Museum, but that's basically what it is -- an institution dedicated to preserving and understanding all the largely invisible systems that sustain our contemporary environments: water treatment, sewage, natural gas, electricity, dams, bridges, storm drainage and so on. There's a 15-minute video, some good exhibits (explaining, for instance, how water treatment has progressed since the 19th Century and what's going on underground when you see those workers in yellow suits descending beneath the streets) and a play area. But the real highlight, and most memorable lesson, is outside: a two-story, full-sized cutaway of a city street and the web of wiring, pipes, tubes, sewers and other tunnel work below. If your kids pay attention, they'll have a much better understanding of what all those manhole covers and anachronistic valves sticking out of the sidewalk are about. They may even go on to become more appreciative taxpayers.
--by John Kelly and Craig Stoltz
Words to the wise: If you're walking from another Inner Harbor attraction, the stroll is pleasant but demanding for very small kids.
Food: You can walk from the museum to Little Italy, where a number of restaurants serve excellent, inexpensive Italian food.
Nearby: Little Italy, Baltimore National Aquarium other Inner Harbor attractions.