Darnall's Chance House Museum

Darnall's Chance House Museum

14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD

14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD
Tel: (301) 952-8010
Email: darnallschance@pgparks.com
Office : Monday–Friday, 10am – 4pm
Tours : Fri & Sun, 12 Noon & 2 pm
Tues-Thurs by appointment : 10am-3pm


  • Gardens

  • Parking Lot


  • Event Buildings & Areas


Come to Darnall’s Chance House Museum and travel back in time to the 18th century. Step inside and take a tour of Lettice Lee’s home to learn about what life was like for the colonial women who lived here. Discover how Darnall’s Chance keeps history alive through innovative, interactive, and engaging programs and special events. Darnall’s Chance House Museum is open year around and offers visitors a variety of things to do.

Plan Your Visit


  • Adults: $5/person
  • Seniors & Groups: $4/person
  • Ages 5-18: $2/person
  • Ages 4 & under: Free

Guided Tours:

  • Tuesday – Thursday (by appointment only): 10 AM – 3 PM (last tour 2:15 PM)
  • Saturday: Special events & rentals only
  • Friday & Sunday (walk-in tours): 12 PM – 4 PM (last tour 3:15 PM)

Gift Shop:

  • Friday & Sunday: 12pm – 4pm
  • Call ahead of time during office hours for additional times.


  • Photography is allowed in the museum.
  • Food and drink are not permitted inside the museum.
  • All children must have adult supervision while at the museum.
  • Pets are not permitted inside the museum. Service animals are welcome with proper identification.
<strong>School Programs</strong>

Darnall’s Chance House Museum offers a variety of educational opportunities for both adult and child audiences.

How to Schedule

For more information or to schedule a program, please call 301-952-8010 or email darnallschance@pgparks.com.

Home School Requests

For more information or to schedule a program, please call 301-952-8010 or email darnallschance@pgparks.com.

Tea Program

Tea & Tour Program

Bring your club or group to Darnall’s Chance House Museum to learn about the 18th-century women who lived here. Follow your tour with a dainty repast of scones, fruit, and other delectable desserts. Visit the gift shop to peruse our selection of history-themed items. This program is for groups of 14-21 people. Reservations required.

Fee: $15/person

School Outreach Program

All Work and No Play: The Life of an 18th-Century Child

Darnall’s Chance House Museum will send costumed interpreters to your school to teach your 4th – 6th-grade students about the lives of children in the colonial era. This informative presentation composed of PowerPoint slides, an accompanying lecture, and interactive activities will both educate and amuse your students. This activity also can be done for summer camps. Available Tuesday through Thursday.

  • Fee: $2 per student

Girl Scout Programs

Making Games Badge

Step back in time and experience life as a child in the 18th century. Learn how kids used their imaginations to create games and have fun. Participate in a scavenger hunt to find mystery items from the past. Make and take home a period toy that will entertain for hours. Fulfills requirements for the Brownie Journey Making Games Badge.

  • Fees: $7 per scout
  • 8 scouts minimum
  • One FREE chaperone, additional chaperones are charged $2/person.

Playing Past the Badge

Explore 18th century Upper Marlborough as a thriving port town with ships navigating the Patuxent River and delivering goods to shops on Water Street. If you lived in this time, would you have been a butcher, a baker or candlestick maker? Pick a trade, dress the part, and see if others can guess the role you play in this colonial town. Scouts will make and take home a tin punch ornament. A short tour of the Museum included. Fulfills requirements for Junior Journey Playing in the Past Badge.

  • Fees: $7 per scout
  • 8 scout minimum
  • One FREE chaperone, additional chaperones are charged $2/person.

Etiquette Tea: Mad Hatter Tea Party

Don’t lose your head over it! Learn the proper way to serve tea and socialize with a group. The Queen of Hearts is hosting a tea party at Darnall’s Chance House Museum and you are invited. Learn the history behind afternoon tea and practice proper tea etiquette. Scouts will make their own teacup hats to wear at the party and take home. Fulfills requirements for the “Making Friends” Brownie Journey Badge.

  • Fee: $12 per scout
  • 10 scout minimum
  • Leaders and adult chaperones: $6 per person

Special Needs Program

What Did People Wear?: 18th Century Clothing and Hygiene

Using their own senses (sight, touch, and smell) visitors learn how colonial Americans dressed and groomed themselves and what the similarities and differences are to their own 21st-century clothing choices and habits. This program was designed for people who have physical or mental disabilities. Groups cannot exceed 15 participants. Reservations required.

  • Fee: $2 per person
  • Free for teachers
<strong>Gingerbread Contest & Show</strong>

2023 Gingerbread House Contest & Show (Entry + Rules)


Participants must register for the competition by the deadline of Friday, November 3, 2023. A registration fee of $5.00 is due for each entry.

Rules for 2023 Contest

Any structure – real or imaginary – is eligible for entry.

Entry must be original – no gingerbread kits allowed.

Entry must have MAJOR components, such as roof & walls, made of gingerbread (no graham crackers, cookies, etc.).

All components must be edible. For example, all foil or plastic wrapped candies must be unwrapped; lollipops cannot have paper or plastic stems. NO perishable items can be used in the making of the entry.

You may add electric lighting to your entry.

Entry must have been constructed in 2023.

Before the entries are put on display, a panel of judges will award ribbons and money in each of the three divisions. All entries will be judged on Originality/Creativity, Overall Appearance, Use of Materials, Difficulty of Design, and Precision.

The main structure must be the dominant feature of the entry. The main structure must be a minimum of 7” high by 8” wide. Entries cannot exceed 26” in height).

Entries must be freestanding and attached to a plywood base that is NO bigger than 24” long x 18” wide. The plywood base must be completely concealed with an edible product; however, the sides of the base do not have to be concealed. We suggest attaching a pretty ribbon around the sides of the base.

For prize money to be awarded in the Viewer’s Choice Competition – a division must have a minimum of five entries.

The Museum reserves the right not to display an entry, if the entry is not considered of show quality.

All entries must be delivered to the Museum in completed form on Sunday, November 19 between 12 – 3 pm. Drop-off times will be scheduled in advance. The Museum will contact contestants to schedule.

Entries must be picked up on Sunday, December 10 at 5 pm.

2022 Gingerbread House Contest & Show Winners

2022 Viewer’s Choice Award Winners

Adult Winner

Hope for the Holidays

by Michelle Howell

Family Winner

St. Nick’s Sweet Retreat

by Nick’s Legacy

Child Winner

A Cozy Camper Christmas

by Renee Lakner

2022 Gingerbread House Committee Selected Winners

Adult Category Winners

1st Place

Hope for the Holidays

by Michelle Howell

2nd Place

Christmas “Shell”ebration

by Jamie Wiesner

3rd Place

Married Christmas

by Anita Guit

Family Category Winners

1st Place

Heat Miser & Cold Miser Argue about the Thermostat

by Muldowney Family

2nd Place

Lake Town Rebuilt

by McClain-Hosman Family

3rd Place

Christmas at Darnall’s Chance

by Arigo Family

Child Category Winners

1st Place

Coastal Christmas

by Violet Stallings

2nd Place

A Cozy Camper Christmas

by Renee Lakner

3rd Place

Christmas Cruise

by Wyatt Hopkins


Darnall’s Chance House Museum offers a lighted patio tent that provides a beautiful setting for elegant parties, corporate functions, and other special events. The 30’ x 60’ tent seats 125 people comfortably and is large enough to accommodate a dance floor, buffet tables, bar and a band. The tent also comes equipped with sidewalls in the case of inclement weather.

View a sample layout of the Lighted Patio Rental Tent.

More Info

  • Catering: Darnall’s Chance House Museum required that you hire a professionally-licensed caterer for your event. A warming kitchen is available for your caterer’s convenience.
  • Availability: May-October; no Sundays or holidays
  • Capacity: 125 people
  • Rates: Saturday rates $1,150 for 7 hours