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Museum of the Ironworker

We are open Saturdays & Sundays, 10 am to 2 pm: However, we will be closed for the holidays on December 23rd, 24th, 30th & 31st. We are an all-volunteer organization, so if you would like to request to visit another day/time please phone:  240- 288-7396 ahead of time so that we may see if a volunteer can meet you. We look forward to seeing you!

Built ca. 1820-1821, the stone worker dwelling at 12610 Catoctin Furnace Road is now known as the Museum of the Ironworker. In partnership with the owner, the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), CFHS signed a 20-year lease in 2017. The building required extensive restoration and a new wing was added to the rear elevation containing a small visitor reception area, a restroom, and a catering kitchen. Restoration included installation of a hand crimped standing seam roof, HVAC, hand-free fixtures, Lutron lighting system, alarm, and Wi-Fi. All historic components were restored or recreated based on extensive architectural research.  The structure is now ADA compliant.

The 600 square foot exhibit area, as well as the gift shop area and restroom, is open to the public year-round, serving as the visitors center for the Catoctin Furnace area of Cunningham Falls State Park. Our recently completed African American Cemetery Interpretive trail links the museum to the parking area at the furnace ruins and provides an informative walk through the village. The exhibits are designed to incorporate graphics and artifacts (including recently conserved Catoctin Furnace made stoves, cannonballs, and other more utilitarian objects) while encouraging visitors to explore the larger area’s cultural landscape. Importantly, the exhibits are tailored to meet the standards and guidelines of the Frederick County Public Schools STEM program, enhancing the county public school curriculum and attracting visitors of all ages and interests.

A highlight of the museum are two forensic facial reconstructions created in 2020 in conjunction with StudioEIS and the Smithsonian Institution. In the 1970s, a highway expansion project resulted in the excavation of thirty-five graves at Catoctin Furnace. Left out of the written record in name and deed, the individuals are revealed within the archaeological record. Now, the art and science of forensic facial reconstruction allow you to meet them.

Funding for the Museum of the Ironworker has been provided by a State of Maryland Bond Bill, and generous grants from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), funded by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service through the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom;  State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources;  Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Maryland Historical Trust; Preservation Maryland; The National Endowment for the Humanities; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Visit Frederick County TRIPP funds; the Delaplaine Foundation; The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area; and private donations.

Plans for the Museum
Evolving Transportation
Casting Light on the Furnace
Leisure at the Furnace
Daily Life at Catoctin Furnace
Clothing at Catoctin Furnace
Natural Resources at Catoctin Furnace
Slavery at Catoctin Furnace