Being young and on a college campus, you probably know someone who has a tattoo or an unusual piercing, or you might even have one yourself. Whether you can claim a few body modifications to your name, or if you just have an interest in them, the Baltimore Tattoo Museum is a great place to brush up on the history of being inked. The museum, located at 1534 Eastern Avenue in Fells Point, houses a tattoo/piercing parlor and an exhibit under the same roof. The museum consists mainly of historical photographs, articles, and colorful tattoo drawings mounted on the walls.
The exhibit wraps around the shop, following tattooing from its earliest days to its current presence in popular culture. Far East tribal tattoos, military insignias, pin-up girls; all of these and even more are immortalized on the museum’s walls. Throughout the exhibit there are also some historical artifacts preserved in glass cases, ranging from an old-fashioned tattooing machine to tattoo to a Butterfly Art Barbie, an example of the tattoo’s assimilation into mainstream culture. Visiting the museum is the ultimate exhibit experience, because you are able to learn about the history of tattooing through the years as people around you in the shop lend themselves to the craft.
As a tattoo and piercing parlor, the Baltimore Tattoo Museum does not disappoint. The staff is friendly and professional, and is more than willing to offer advice to patrons. Earrings and other body jewelry are displayed in the front of the shop, all for moderate prices. Piercings themselves at the museum are also priced fairly — my recent nose piercing with a stud cost $50, and would have only cost $40 had I gotten a ring instead. Also, as a self-confessed germaphobe, I was really happy and impressed to find the piercing and tattooing areas very clean and the procedure and equipment sanitary.
Another plus: my wait from signing the forms to getting the piercing was under ten minutes. I do recommend calling ahead, though, because the museum’s piercer is only there on certain days. Staff members will explain everything that needs to be done to take care of new piercings, and the museum’s website also lists aftercare instructions in detail.
Although I have yet to be tattooed at the museum, I would definitely suggest it as place to check out if you’re considering getting inked. The establishment has an artsy and laid-back atmosphere, but it is still extremely professional. The shop’s tattoo artists have portfolios of their work displayed on the museum’s website, and you can tell by the quality of their work that they take the craft of tattooing very seriously. They are also available for appointments to help design the best body art for their clients, and can come up with almost any tattoo you can think of or dream up.
The Baltimore Tattoo Museum stands out from other tattoo/piercing parlors because it almost has its own little community. Tattoos are a common denominator for so many different people, and the museum is a great place for the tattooed and fans of tattoos alike to come together. It is such a unique and personal experience to have something permanently etched into your skin, and having people that can empathize with and appreciate the art form of tattooing is incredibly supportive and inspiring. The museum is yet another interesting facet of a quirky city that doesn’t get enough credit. If you’re in Baltimore, stop by the tattoo museum and learn a little history. Who knows, maybe you’ll rebel against ‘the man’ and get some ink of your own. Just keep it on the down-low from Mom.