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About Friends of Fort McHenry

Our Mission

The Friends of Fort McHenry is the recognized non-profit fundraising partner for Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

Our mission, in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), is to support the development and implementation of educational programming and living history activities, and the creation of interpretive exhibits and visitor facilities that best engender the widest possible understanding and appreciation of Fort McHenry and the enduring legacy and promise of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our National Anthem.


The Friends achieve this mission through generous support provided by individuals, businesses and foundations who value our heritage and the impact that history can have upon our young people.


Our Founding

Founded in 1984, The Friends of Fort McHenry, a program of Living Classrooms Foundation, are the primary advocates for Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine.  Through fundraising initiatives like the one that constructed the state-of-the-art Visitor Center and outreach efforts with local, state, and national leaders, the Friends work to ensure the widest possible appreciation of Fort McHenry’s enduring legacy and the fort’s survival as an “historic shrine” for future generations of Americans.


As the birthplace of our national anthem, Fort McHenry’s significance as a national park is well known. The Friends, along with the National Park Service’s “Every Kid In a Park” Initiative, focuses much of their efforts on ensuring schoolchildren in the City of Baltimore, Maryland, and across our nation appreciate “The Star-Spangled Banner” as well as Fort McHenry’s significance in its creation and our nation’s history. 

From 2012-2014, the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 broadened the reach

of Fort McHenry and the story of the Star Spangled Banner.

Learn more about the Bicentennial celebration and commemoration from 2012-2014 here:

Annually, Friends of Fort McHenry present the Francis Scott Key Award to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the preservation and/or public appreciation of Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine. Learn more about the Key Award below.



Our Advisory Board

Peter O'Malley (Chairman)

Morgan "Trip" Bailey (Chairman Emeritus)

David Carrodine

Charles "Chip" Markell

Colleen Martin-Lauer

William Pencek

Damon Roach

Hugh Sisson

Alan Walden(Chairman Emeritus)

Emeritus Council

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

Delegate Brian McHale

Governor Martin O'Malley

The Honorable Paul Sarbanes

Jeffery Buchheit

Eric Fischer

Col. Richard J. Knauer, Jr.

Brian McComas

George Rich

Melanie Santiago-Mosier

BGEN Warner Sumpter

Brian White

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