A Window to the Past

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum:
A Window to the Past

If you want a unique and educational experience in Maryland, consider visiting the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum in Frederick. This museum is housed in the oldest standing house in Frederick County, built-in 1758 by a German immigrant family. It is a National Historic Landmark and one of America’s finest examples of German-Georgian colonial architecture. Here are some reasons why you should check out this museum:

Picture A Window to the Past


The Schifferstadt house was built by Elias Brunner, the son of Joseph and Cathrina Brunner, who came to America from Schifferstadt, Germany, in 1729. They settled in Frederick County in 1736 and acquired a 303-acre tract of land named after their hometown. Elias and his wife Albertina built the stone house in 1758, using local materials and German craftsmanship. The house has many distinctive features, such as two-foot-thick stone walls, a radiant heating system, and a barrel-vaulted cellar. The Brunner family occupied the place until 1833 when it was sold to Jacob Bentz. It changed hands several times until it was acquired by the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation in 1974. The foundation restored the house and opened it publicly as a museum in 1979.

A Window to the Past Picture
A Window to the Past

The culture

The Schifferstadt house is a testament to the cultural heritage of the German settlers who came to Maryland in the 18th century. They brought their traditions, skills, and values and adapted them to the American frontier. They contributed to the region’s economic, social, and political development, especially in agriculture, industry, and religion. The house reflects their influence on colonial Maryland’s architecture, technology, and lifestyle. It also showcases their artistry, such as the Scherenschnitte (paper cutting) and the Hex signs (painted symbols) that decorate the house.

Points of Interest

The museum offers guided tours of the house, where visitors can see the original rooms and furnishings of the Brunner family. Some of the highlights include:

  • The kitchen, where Albertina cooked for her family and guests using a large fireplace and a sink that drained outdoors.
  • The parlor, where Elias entertained his friends and neighbors with music and games.
  • The bedrooms, where the family slept on rope beds with feather mattresses and quilts.
  • The cellar, where the family stored their food and supplies in wooden barrels and chests.

The attic, where the children played and some servants slept.

Interesting Facts

Here are some fun facts about the Schifferstadt house that you might not know:

  • The house is named after Schifferstadt, Germany, which means “shipper’s town” or “town by the water.”
  • The house has a narrow pent roof that runs along the sides of the main shelter to protect the walls from rain and snow.
  • The house has a five-plate stove and a metal box that radiates heat from a fire inside. It is one of only two surviving examples of this type of stove in America.
  • The house has a secret compartment behind a panel in one of the bedrooms, where Elias hid his valuables during the Revolutionary War.
  • The house has a ghost story: some people claim to have seen or heard a woman in a blue dress walking around the house at night.
Schifferstadt Architectural

Advice for Visitors

If you are planning to visit the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, here are some tips to make your trip more enjoyable:

When is it open?

The museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. from April to October. It is also available by appointment for groups of 10 or more.

What to wear?

The museum is not air-conditioned or heated, so dress according to the weather. Wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking on uneven floors and stairs.

Is it family-friendly?

Yes, the museum is suitable for children of all ages. There are activities and games for kids to learn about colonial life. There is also a heritage garden where they can see different plants and their uses.

When is it best to visit?

The museum hosts special events throughout the year, such as Oktoberfest, Christmas Open House, and Candlelight Tours. These events offer more entertainment and learning opportunities for visitors. Check out their website for more information: https://www.fredericklandmarks.org/schifferstadt.

Driving directions from Hampton Inn and Suites to Castle Floor Epoxy Frederick

Via W 14th St. 32 min. 90 miles.

Hampton Inn & Suites Frederick-Fort Detrick: 1565 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21702, United States

  1. Continue to Opossumtown Pike
  2. Take Motter Ave to W 14th St
  3. Turn left onto W 14th St
  4. Turn left onto MD-355 N/N Market St
  5. Turn left

Rose Hill Manor Park & Museums: 1611 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701, United States

  1. Head south toward MD-355 S/N Market St
  2. Turn right onto MD-355 S/N Market St
  3. Turn right onto W 13th St
  4. Continue straight onto Fairview Ave
  5. Turn right onto Rosemont Ave
  6. The destination will be on the left

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum: 1110 Rosemont Ave, Frederick, MD 21701, United States

  1. Head southeast on Rosemont Ave toward W 2nd St
  2. Rosemont Ave turns slightly left and becomes Dill Ave
  3. Turn right onto N Bentz St
  4. The destination will be on the right

Baker Park Bandshell: 21 N Bentz St, Frederick, MD 21701, United States

  1. Head south on N Bentz St toward W Church St
  2. Turn left onto W Church St
  3. The destination will be on the left

Downtown Frederick Partnership: 19 E Church St, Frederick, MD 21701, United States

  1. Head east on E Church St toward N Maxwell Ave
  2. Turn right onto N Carroll St

Carroll Creek Linear Park: Frederick, MD 21701, USA

  1. Head south on S Carroll St toward E All Saints St
  2. Turn left onto E All Saints St
  3. E All Saints St turns right and becomes East St
  4. The destination will be on the right

Frederick Visitor Center: 151 East St, Frederick, MD 21701, United States

  1. Take E South St to S Carroll St
  2. Continue on S Carroll St to S Market St
  3. Turn left onto S Market St
  4. Continue on Stadium Dr to your destination

Nymeo Field At Harry Grove Stadium: 21 Stadium Dr, Frederick, MD 21703, United States

  1. Take Stadium Dr to New Design Rd
  2. Turn right onto New Design Rd
  3. Continue on Executive Way. Take Macon St to Proclamation Pl

Castle Floor Epoxy – Frederick: 7180 Proclamation Pl, Frederick, MD 21703, United States

  1. You have arrived at your destination

Driving directions from Shifferstadt Architectural Museum to Castle Floor Epoxy

Via US-15 S. 10 min. 6.6 miles.

  1. Get on US-15 S from W 14th St and Motter Ave
    1. Head north on N Market St toward W 14th St
    2. Turn left onto W 14th St
    3. Turn right onto Motter Ave
    4. Turn left to merge onto US-15 S
  2. Continue on US-15 S. Take I-270 S to MD-85 S in Ballenger Creek. Take exit 31B from I-270 S
    1. Merge onto US-15 S
    2. Continue onto US-40 E
    3. Keep left to continue on I-270 S
    4. Take exit 31B for MD-85 S toward Buckeystown
  3. Follow MD-85 S and Executive Way to Proclamation Pl
    1. Continue onto MD-85 S
    2.  Pass by McDonald’s (on the right in 0.4 mi)
    3. Turn right onto Executive Way
    4. Turn right onto Macon St
    5. Turn left onto Proclamation Pl
    6.  Destination will be on the right