Street Address
9421 Frederick Road
Ellicott City, MD 21041
Mailing Address
PO Box 109
Ellicott City, MD 21041
phone: 410-480-3250
Sunday, Friday - Saturday1 PM - 5 PM
Upcoming Closings: Dec. 23-25 Christmas
Monday - Tuesday1 PM - 8 PM
Wednesday - Saturday1 PM - 5 PM
Special Event Rental
Shawn Gladden, Executive Director
phone: 410-480-3250


The society, while collecting and preserving the past, also celebrates the present. Our exhibitions are designed to show the past in a way that is relavent to the community today.

In 1775 members of the Ellicott family came from Pennsylvania and founded flour and iron mills in Ellicott City and at other locations on the Patapsco River. The area switched from tobacco to wheat production and at one time had some of the largest wheat mills in the world. The first terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was Ellicott City because of the numerous mills in that area. Although flour production shifted to the western territories, Howard County remained an agriculture based economy until World War II. With less than 40% of its land in agricultural use today the county has undergone extensive changes including the building of the planned community of Columbia.

The Society was founded 50 years ago to collect and preserve artifacts and documents that help to educate the public about the history of Howard County. Originally part of Anne Arundel County the Howard District was made a seperate county in 1851. In the 17th and 18th centuries the county was primarily am agricultural community based on tobacco cultivation.


The Howard County Historical Soceity is the county's oldest cultural institution. The museum is housed in a gothic revival church built of locally quarried stone in 1894. The library/archibves is housed in the Weir Building, the oldest building in historic Ellicott City. The Society has paid staff, but rely heavily on volunteers to assist in both the library and museum.

Artifacts Collections

The society has extensive collections documenting the history of Howard County and adjoining areas. The collections include paintings, photographs, prints, furniture, textiles, jewelry, farm and manufacturing tools, firearms, and other objects documenting daily life in the county.

Research Collections

The Society's library has extensive photographic and document collections, including court records, marriage liscenses, deeds, maps and surveys, 18th and 19th century ledgers and farm records, manumissions, and family records. The Ellicott family collection includes materials related to the founding of Ellicott's Mills along the Patapsco River by the Ellicott brothers, who were from Pennsylvania originally, including marriage licenses, deeds, along with artifacts from the family including two compasses that belonged to Andrew Ellicott, one of early America's most important surveyors.

Educational Programs

The museum has both permanent and temporary exhibitions pertaining to Howard County history. An annual historic house tour is held every December. Additional tours are also held. Concerts on the society's 1908 organ are periodically held. Educational tours and materials are available to schools and scout groups upon request.


non profit board


Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

Appointment required: No


"The Legacy" the society's newsletter is issued quarterly.

  • The Legacy



The Museum of Howard County History is available for rental for private and corporate functions in accordance with the terms of our rental contract available on our website..

Special Event Rental