The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is making room for a new exhibition in its Steamboat Building, with the announcement of two exhibitions coming to a close. Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake, and Push and Pull: Life on Chesapeake Bay Tugboats will close on January 5, as the museum prepares for a new exhibition highlighting CBMM’s most significant artifacts collected over the institution’s 50-year history.
Push and Pull: Life on Chesapeake Bay Tugboats opened in April 2012 and offers a historical perspective on what has changed in the world of tugboats on the Bay since their first arrival, and the world of the captains and crews who work—and sometimes live—aboard these hard-working boats. The exhibition is located in the lower gallery of the Steamboat Building.
Located in the Steamboat Building’s upper gallery, Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake explores the impact of the War of 1812 on the people of the Chesapeake Bay region. The exhibition opened in May 2013, and shares stories of black and white Americans, militiamen, Baltimore merchants and British sailors who found opportunity or misfortune amid the conflict. Their diaries, artifacts, portraits and articles reveal personal stories, and the ways the War of 1812 on the Chesapeake challenged American ideas about freedom.
“We’re striking both of these to prepare for a major exhibition that will use both floors of the Steamboat Building,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “The new exhibition will showcase many of the most significant artifacts in the museum’s 50 years of collecting.”
A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting is set to open during a private reception on Friday, May 22, 2015—in honor of the date the museum began in 1965. It opens to the public on Saturday, May 23, when CBMM will host a festival commemorating its 50th anniversary. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue publication that highlights the artifacts in the exhibition.
“The catalogue is an extremely important part of the museum’s 50th anniversary celebration,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “It will be a beautifully photographed, hard cover book showcasing 50 artifacts from the museum’s first 50 years of collecting. And through sponsorships of each artifact in the catalogue, our supporters will be recognized in a meaningful way while helping to raise the funds needed for our anniversary plans.”
According to Lesher, the idea of a museum was originated by a grassroots group of community members and the county’s historical society in 1964. The hopes of starting a museum took shape with the purchase of the historic Higgins, Dodson and Eagle Houses along St. Michaels’ harbor, which now serve as the museum’s administrative buildings.
“Within these historic homes and a handful of collections, the museum officially opened on May 22, 1965,” said CBMM’s President Kristen Greenaway. “In 50 years, we have grown from three small buildings to an 18-acre campus with 12 exhibition buildings, and more than 68,000 visitors a year. Our collections of Chesapeake Bay artifacts have also grown, and this new exhibition ensures many of our most important pieces are shared with the public.”
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is home to the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse and the largest collection of Chesapeake Bay watercraft in the world. General admission is good for two days, and includes the opportunity to stroll historic St. Michaels’ boutiques, inns and restaurants while visiting the museum. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.