At the Crossroads of American History

The story the Allegany Museum begins with rare Ice Age fauna discovered in deep mountain caves, covers the arrival and lifeways of the region’s Native American populations, and includes a rich cast of legendary frontiersmen who established the region as an important point for east-west passage.

George Washington first travelled to our region in 1748, on a mission searching for the origin of the Potomac River. He returned in 1753 and spent several years participating in French and Indian War campaigns staged from Fort Cumberland.

The Cumberland Road, authorized in 1806 by President Thomas Jefferson, was the first highway built by the Federal Government. It provided access from Cumberland to the Ohio River Valley for thousands of westward moving settlers. The C&O Canal, started in 1828 to link Washington, DC and Cumberland, further established Cumberland as a hub. By the 1860s railroads and road improvement made Cumberland as a prosperous city with glass manufacturing, breweries, and other local industry.

Today, Cumberland offers a wonderful mix of history, art, and access to the great outdoors. The Allegany Museum play a major role the life of the community through exhibits documenting the cultural and natural history of the region.

Learn more about our exhibitions and our collecting strategy