Howard County Historical Society
Founded in 1958, the Howard County Historical Society is primary private repository of historical records and artifacts related to Howard County’s rich history, the Howard County Historical Society provides access to materials that aid in historical exploration, research and discovery for all ages and cultural groups.
Our mission is to collect, preserve, provide access to, and public education about, the history of Howard County through written records, documents, and photographs, through three-dimensional, cultural artifacts, and oral history. Our mission is furthered through:
• A commitment to excellence in maintaining and preserving the Collections in our Library and Museum;
• An opportunity for, and support of, the public’s engagement in research.
• A dedication to public access and education through our Library and Museum, exhibits and lectures related to the history of Howard County, workshops, and other public opportunities for learning about, Howard County History.
• The active involvement and energy of our membership in support of the work of the Society.
• The advocacy of our members in support of historic preservation.
Throughout the year, the Howard County Historical Society presents a wide variety of engaging public programs, concerts, lectures, and other activities. The Society also welcomes school groups, scouts, home schoolers, adult groups, and the public to participate through field trips and outreach programs.
The Howard County Historical Society Museum is housed in the former First Presbyterian Church which was generously donated to the Society in 1960 by Mrs. James (Alda Hopkins) Clark in memory of her late husband.
Located next to the Court House in Ellicott City, the original church was a modest building constructed in 1837 that collapsed during renovations in 1894. Rebuilt later that same year, the current Gothic-style structure with its soaring 100-foot bell tower, steeply pitched roof and stained and leaded glass windows was designed by George Archer and constructed by Frederick A. Wayland. Along with an extensive collection of fascinating artifacts, textiles, furniture and memorabilia, the Museum is home to a refurbished 1855 organ built by the A.B Felgemacher Organ Company of Erie, PA.
The Howard County Historical Society Archives and Research Library were originally kept in the Museum and then moved to the Ellicott’s Mills Quaker School, now known as the Weir Building, in 1988. In the fall of 2011 the Society moved its treasure trove of historical maps, deeds and property records, marriage licenses, voter records, slave manumission records and oral histories as well as over 4,000 historical photographs, local 4-H documents, business receipts, and many rare and one-of-a-kind private documents to the Charles E. Miller Branch Library and Historical Center on Frederick Road in Ellicott City.