Students, staff & faculty can login to access personalized content.

Parent & Guardian Access is located here.

Forgot your password?

1847-1878: Renewal and Expansion in the Industrial Age

1847-48 “New Maryland Institute” reorganized in rented space over the downtown Post Office.
1848 Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York Tribune, kicks off first lecture series, which over the next two decades features Elisha Kent Kane, Arctic explorer; Alexander D. Bache, physicist and educator; Joseph Henry, first head of the Smithsonian; John Tyler, 10th president; Matthew Fontaine Maury, oceanographer; Edward Everett, orator and statesman; Henry Ward Beecher, preacher and abolitionist; and Anna Dickinson, women’s rights activist.

Annual Exhibition in Maryland Institute’s Great HallAnnual exhibitions highlight the latest industrial marvels, drawing submissions from inventors, mechanics, and artists from across the country, who competed for “premiums” awarded in more than 50 categories.
1849 Night School of Design established to meet growing demand for skilled artists and designers spurred by advances in printing technology and an expanding industrial design market.
1851 Center Market BuildingThe new Center Market Building opens in October above the Center (“Marsh”) Market on Baltimore Street, funded in part by the city. It covered an entire block and had “the largest clear floor in America.” Scientific American pronounced it “the finest Exhibition Hall in the country.” With capacity for 6,000, its Great Hall hosted many notable events and national political gatherings.

School of Chemistry opens, equipped through gifts from philanthropist George Peabody and B&O President Thomas Swann, then vice president of the Institute’s board (and subsequently Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland). The first school of its kind in the city, it flourishes for two decades until other institutions open similar departments.
1850s Fine arts gallery at annual exhibitions showcased collections of leading art patrons, artists featured included several members of the Hudson River School: Asher B. Durand, John F. Kensett, Albert Bierstadt, and Baltimore native, Alfred J. Miller, famous for his landscape paintings of the American West.
1852 Two presidential nominating conventions hosted in the Great Hall - nominees were General Winfield Scott (Whig) and Franklin Pierce (Democrat), who went on to become president. Later conventions there nominated Millard Fillmore in 1856 and John C. Breckinridge in 1860.

Illustration from Minifie’s Drawing Text Book, 1852 Night School of Design reorganized by new principal William Minifie, architect and early advocate for art education whose drawing textbooks were widely used by schools in the U.S. and Britain—featured an advanced curriculum emphasizing instruction in original design and new courses in architecture and engineering.

Loyola College founded.
1854 Ad for A. Hoen & Co. Lithography Company of Baltimore Day School of Design opened for women—one of the first schools in the country offering professional art training to women; curriculum includes MICA’s first teacher training programs and applied arts courses (including lithography and wood engraving). Designs by the school’s students are purchased by publishers, wallpaper, and textile manufacturers.

David Acheson (D. A.) Woodward becomes principal of the Night School of Design. A drawing instructor, portrait painter and inventor, Woodward patented a solar enlarging camera (the first widely successful photographic enlarging camera) in 1857 and developed one of the country’s earliest known courses in photography during his 25-year tenure at the Maryland Institute.
1858 George Peabody funds the Maryland Institute’s first student awards; the “Peabody Premiums” were awarded to the School of Design’s highest-ranking graduates each year until the late 1960s.
1860 Day school program for men opens, providing instruction in fine and applied arts subjects previously limited to female school.

First embassy from Japan to the United States feted in the Great Hall.
1861 American Civil War begins, with first blood shed April 19 when federal troops clash with Southern sympathizers on Pratt Street, just 150 yards from the Maryland Institute. The Great Hall serves briefly as an armory; classes, exhibitions, and lectures continue, although night school classes for men are temporarily suspended.
1862 School of Music of the Maryland Institute opens, offering classes to youth and adults in voice, piano, string and wind instruments (phased out in 1883).

Great Hall transformed into makeshift hospital September 17–18 for 700 Union soldiers wounded at the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
1864 Abraham Lincoln, ca. 1864 President Abraham Lincoln delivers his Freedom Speech April 18 at the Great Hall during a fair to benefit Union Troops, one year almost to the day before he was shot. Also attending: members of his cabinet, including William Henry Seward, Secretary of State, and ministers from several foreign nations including Russia, Prussia, Belgium, France, Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Peru, and Chile.
1866 Great Southern Relief Fair held in the Great Hall, raising close to $150,000 for post-war rebuilding efforts.

Towson University founded.
1867 Morgan State University opens.
1870 The Day Schools of Design become co-educational; Both Night and Day Schools add more fine arts courses to existing program including photography, modeling in clay, and sketching from nature.

Development of Bolton Hill begins. By the 20th century, this fashionable area attracted such famous residents as the writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Hamilton, and will become MICA's home.
1873 Depression of 1873 brings economy to a stand-still for the next seven years. Memberships and enrollment drop sharply. Exhibitions and lectures are canceled. Revenues shrink. Institute struggles to maintain its comparative position with schools more generously endowed.
1874 Maryland Institute was sustained through 1870s depression by gifts from three of Baltimore’s most prominent businessmen, Johns Hopkins, John W. Garrett, Enoch Pratt, who joined other 19th century supporters including A.S. Abell, George Peabody, William and Henry Walters.
1875 Art Students League founded in New York. Among the founders was C. Y. Turner (Maryland Institute class of 1871), prominent muralist and later Director of Maryland Institute.
1876 The Johns Hopkins University opens.

Cover of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Historical Register of the Centennial Exposition Artwork by Maryland Institute students displayed in the Maryland Pavilion at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, the first major U.S. world’s fair, attended by nearly 9 million, and David Woodward, head of the Schools of Design, receives a medal there for improved models of his solar cameras. The Centennial’s vast displays of commercial, decorative, and fine arts inspire Americans to implement art training on par with Europe and fuels the proliferation of art schools and museums across the country.
1878 A delegation from the Chinese Embassy and U. S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, visits the Maryland Institute’s last industrial exhibition. Due to changing tastes, exhibitions and lectures at the Great Hall are suspended.

The History of MICA continues in Part III:  1879-1904.

Credits: Illustration of Annual Exhibition courtesy of Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library/State Library Resource Center, Baltimore, Maryland; A. Hoen & Co. advertisement from George W. Howard’s The Monumental City, Baltimore, 1873; photo of Lincoln from commemorative envelope issued in 1994; other images MICA Archives.