Launched shortly after the Civil War by Mrs. G. Harmon Brown, the Woman's Industrial Exchange was founded "for the purpose of endeavoring by sympathy and practical aid to encourage and help needy women to help themselves by procuring for them and establishing a sales room for the sale of Women's Work." In 2007, the Exchange is still pursing this mission of helping small entrepreneurs, with over 250 consigners who make hand-crafted products especially for the non-profit organization.
The third oldest women's exchange in the country, Baltimore's exchange is the oldest in its original building. The building at 333 North Charles was constructed in 1815 and had been used as a boarding house before the Exchange bought it in the late 1880s. The Tea Room, consignment shop, and upstairs apartments all date to this period.
The Exchange underwent extensive renovations in 2004 (incidentally, winning a Baltimore Heritage historic preservation award for the work). The renovations maintained the original materials (and charm), while modernizing the apartments and commercial kitchen.