The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, MD begins a new “This Old Chesapeake House” speaker series on January 30, with four more sessions scheduled for February 6, 12, 26, and March 7. City and country Colonial mansions, African-American churches, the historic architecture of St Michaels, and archaeological digs uncovering vanished communities are subjects for this five-part series. The public is invited, with advanced registration needed and seating limited.
Old houses are part of the character of the Chesapeake landscape and serve as a reminder of history’s role in our day-to-day lives. These five sessions explore the history, restoration, and ongoing preservation efforts of old houses—large and small, public and private—from throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.
On Thursday, January 30 from 10-11:30am, join Anne Arundel County’s archaeologist and historic preservationist Jane Cox as she discusses Anne Arundel County’s Lost Towns Project. The project has discovered and excavated more than a dozen 17th century house sites over the past 20 years. Cox will lead a virtual tour of the architecture of the region while weaving the compelling stories of those who built, worked, lived, and died in these simple wooden homes.
From 10-11:30am on Thursday, February 6, Historic Annapolis’ Senior Historian Glenn E. Campbell will explore the history and inhabitants of the William Paca House of Annapolis, from its construction by a young patriot who signed the Declaration of Independence to the 20th century, when it was part of Annapolis’s largest and finest hotel. Campbell will also discuss the process of restoring the Paca House and gardens to their original appearances, providing today’s visitors a glimpse of what life was like for the upper crust of 18th century society.
The next session is on Wednesday, February 12 from 10-11:30am and brings Historic Sotterley Plantation’s Education Director Jeanne Pirtle to CBMM to discuss the evolution of Sotterley’s 300 year-old plantation house and the stories of the people who owned, lived, and worked to support it. Pirtle will explore Sotterley’s history as one of the largest tobacco plantations in 18th century Maryland, the impact on the plantation during the War of 1812 when most of its enslaved population ran away to join the British, and its transformation from a Confederate’s refuge to modern house museum.
On Wednesday, February 26 at 10am-11:30am, join Morgan State University Professor Dale Glenwood Green as he discusses “A Home to Heroes / Houses of Worship: The Buffalo Soldier House, Asbury & Bethel Churches on The Hill.” Green will explore The Hill Community Project in Easton, Maryland, which historians and archaeologists believe could be the oldest United States community of free persons of color still in existence.
The final “This Old Chesapeake House” session will take place on Friday, March 7, at 10am- 11:30am, where participants will meet at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for a maritime walking tour of historic St Michaels, led by CBMM’s Curator and St. Michaels Historic District Commissioner Pete Lesher. Lesher will make the houses of St. Michaels “talk,” sharing the stories of the town’s shipbuilding past where privateers and schooners were constructed, to its bustling heyday as a town built on the Chesapeake’s oyster and crab industries.
The cost for individual sessions is $10 for CBMM members and $15 for non-members, or you can register for all five sessions at $45 for CBMM members and $70 for non-members by calling Helen Van Fleet at 410-745-4941. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.