Founded in 1880, the Woman's Industrial Exchange helped craftswomen discreetly earn a living and operated at 333 N. Charles Street in various forms. Launched 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." It was the third oldest women's exchange in the country. The building was constructed in 1815 and was used as a boarding house before the Exchange bought it in the late 1880s.
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.
In June 2020, the Exchange stoped operating and the Maryland Women's Heritage Center (MWHC) moved into the building. The MWHC is the first comprehensive state-based women’s history center and museum of its kind in the nation. It has adapted the storefront of this landmark building into an exhibit center and small event space. Changing exhibits in the bay window facing North Charles Street feature various women artists and their creations. The center celebrates Maryland women —past and present, famous and not—and adds “HERstory to history to tell our story.”
Watch our Five Minute Histories video on the building and organizations that operated here!