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“Freedom Bound: Runaways of the Chesapeake”

Historic Annapolis Museum and Store
99 Main Street
Annapolis, MD  21401

Winter Hours

Tuesday–Sunday: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Free admission; donations welcome.

Current Exhibit

Freedom Bound: Runaways of the Chesapeake” tells the stories of nine servants and slaves who tried to escape from forced servitude between 1728 and 1864. “Freedom” was their goal, but that meant different things to different people at different times. Some escape attempts succeeded, while other runaways were recaptured. For most whose flight is documented in historic newspapers, such as Annapolis’s Maryland Gazette, their fates remain unknown.


“Freedom Bound” is located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Historic Annapolis Museum and Store at 99 Main Street and in the nearby Waterfront Warehouse at 4 Pinkney Street. Costumed mannequins, authentic and reproduction artifacts, historic images and newspaper advertisements, hands-on activities, and dramatic video and audio clips all help to tell the tales of real people who struggled for freedom.

Through “Freedom Bound,” visitors will meet people who were treated as property and discover how they resisted that condition and asserted some degree of control over their lives and circumstances. Each of the displays represents an actual individual’s story, but each also tells part of a larger experience shared by thousands of bound workers—indentured servants, slaves, and convict servants—who lived and labored in the Chesapeake region.

Funding and support for “Freedom Bound” provided by:  Institute of Museum and Library Sciences / Maryland Heritage Areas Authority / Maryland Historical Trust / Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission / Severn Savings Bank / Winifred Gordon Foundation / Jane Campbell-Chambliss Auctioneers / Maryland Humanities Council / Harley W. Howell Charitable Foundation

Future Exhibit: “A History of Annapolis in 99 Objects”

Historic Annapolis is planning a new exhibit projected to open in spring of 2019.

“A History of Annapolis in 99 Objects” will feature artifacts from our own museum collection or borrowed from other institutions or individuals.  The principal exhibition spaces will be in the James Brice House, with some artifacts on display in the Historic Annapolis Museum and Store and in local partnering sites.

Ultimately, we hope that “A History of Annapolis in 99 Objects” will be an engaging collection of artifact-based stories that we as Annapolitans tell ourselves and others about our city and its past. We hope that it will connect people to the history of Maryland’s capital city in new, exciting, and perhaps surprising ways.

This project is funded in part by the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.