Statement of Significance (as of designation - December 21, 1965):
Rembrandt Peale opened the first building in the United States designed and erected exclusively as a museum and art gallery on August 15, 1814. According to an early advertisement, its first-floor rooms displayed "birds, beasts...Indian Dresses...and Miscellaneous Curiosities," and the second floor gallery showed Peale's own works. Visitors had to pay an extra quarter to see two wax statues, "The Grecian Beauty" and "The Dream of Love." The museum, designed by Baltimore architect Robert Cary Long, Sr., resembles a three-story brick town house, but has a monumental frontispiece. It served as Baltimore's city hall from 1830 until 1875, and has been the city's municipal museum since 1931.