In May 1906, the citizens and school children of Maryland donated $5,000 to purchase this 48 piece silver service for the new armored cruiser Maryland. Made by Samuel Kirk and Sons of Baltimore, the set depicts 167 scenes from the history of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City. The USS Maryland silver service is unique. Not only do its pieces portray the houses, churches, and events of Maryland history, but their decorative borders symbolize the economy and culture of the state. Horns of plenty speak of hospitable, fruitful Maryland - "The land of pleasant living." Festooned tobacco leaves and oyster shell borders symbolize the importance of both land and water in the life of our state. Rope borders on each piece show the nautical purpose of the USS Maryland is carved into the design, and the names of 12 noteworthy Maryland naval officers appear on the 12 punch cups.
On July 21, 1921, the U. S. Navy commissioned the battleship Maryland to replace the original cruiser, and the silver service was transferred aboard the new ship. After 26 years of service, including war-related duty during World War II, the Maryland, Fighting Mary, was decommissioned on April 3, 1947. The silver service, which had been in storage during the war, was returned to Baltimore. The silver was displayed in the main gallery of the Maryland Historical Society until 1962, when, with the Help of Admiral Hill, the silver was placed on permanent display in the State House.
In 1992, the submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738) was commissioned and four pieces of the Maryland Silver Service were placed aboard her, where they remain to this day. This unique and wonderful silver service a memorial to the history and people of Maryland.