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Special Exhibitions

Current Special Exhibitions

Potomac Waterfowling: Gunning the Nation’s River

April 8, 2017 – March 2018

Potomac Waterfowling: Gunning the Nation’s River follows the harvesting history from 18th century statesmen like George Washington—who wrote about memorable hunts of the Potomac’s stunning numbers of waterfowl—to the 20th century, when the combination of Washington, D.C.’s growing economy and the rich Potomac environment spurred both commercial and sport markets for waterfowl.

Snapshots to Selfies exhibition photo submission linkSnapshots to Selfies: 50 Years of Chesapeake Summers

In 2016, CBMM is opening an exhibition all about you! Your personal photos and family memories from the last 50 summers on the Bay—fishing, sailing, lounging on the beach, catching crabs—will be displayed for the public to enjoy as part of a new exhibition, Snapshots to Selfies: 50 Years of Chesapeake Summers.


Upcoming Special Exhibitions

Robert de Gast’s Chesapeake

May 12, 2017 – April 8, 2018

Robert de Gast’s photographs of the late 1960’s and 70’s documented the Chesapeake’s oystering industry, shorelines, and lighthouses at a watershed moment, both for the Bay and for photography. Deftly incorporating modern abstract elements into images that conveyed grit, humor, and atmosphere, de Gast masterfully represented the last days of the Chesapeake’s maritime golden age. This exhibition features masterpieces selected from more than 10,000 images in CBMM’s de Gast collections.

Robert de Gast’s Chesapeake is made possible through the generous support of Mr. &
Mrs. Norman H. Plummer, Anne & Frank Mickey, Maryland State Arts Council, Ashton Design, and Elizabeth C. Moose.

Past Special Exhibitions

Admiral Cockburn Burning & Plundering Havre de Grace. William Charles, c. 1813, aquatint. Courtesy of Maryland Historical Society, Hambleton Print Collection.Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake

Explore the impact of the War of 1812 on the people of the Chesapeake, black and white Americans, militiamen, Baltimore merchants, and British sailors who found opportunity and misfortune amid the conflict. This online exhibition features stories, artwork, and rare relics of the period.


Two boys ca. 1910 with swan hunted in the Easton, MD area, from the collection of C. John Sullivan. Chesapeake Swan Song:
From Commodity to Conservation

April 11, 2015 – April 3, 2016

The story of the evolving relationship between the people and swans of the Chesapeake Bay will be told through a curated collection of decoys, photographs, and artifacts in this new exhibition.The exhibition is generously sponsored by Guyette & Deeter—the world’s leading decoy auction firm—Judy and Henry Stansbury, and Gourmet by the Bay in St. Michaels, MD

CBMM_HollydayExhibition_February2016Maritime Talbot County: Photographs by H. Robins Hollyday

February 2016 – October 2016

Photographer H. Robins “Bob” Hollyday (1898-1981) documented Eastern Shore people and places from land, water, and air through much of the 20th century. Beginning in 1929, Hollyday teamed with Talbot County’s most well-known aviator, Malcolm Hathaway, to fly the skies over the county. Hollyday would hang out of the open cockpit plane with a large, cumbersome camera to take photographs. Hollyday photographed properties from the air for the area’s realtors, captured events for local business and society, and documented the region’s culture. His photographs reflect a distinct sense of place, and in Talbot County, which claims 600 miles of shoreline, that character is closely intertwined with the water. In these images, Hollyday documented the area’s waterborne transportation and recreation, waterside industry, and fisheries.Robins Hollyday’s extensive photograph collection is preserved by the Talbot Historical Society in Easton, Maryland, which created this exhibition.

CBMM_Trumpy_Rumak_III_Marion_ WarrenA Single Goal: The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building

August 6, 2016 – November 27, 2016

An exhibition tracing the design and construction of the distinctive Trumpy wooden yachts opens August 6 and focuses its attention from 1909 through 1973, when the Trumpy Yacht Yard in Annapolis, Md. produced its last boat. Named after John Trumpy Sr., the famous Naval architect and designer who crafted these regal vessels, Trumpy boats are legendary for their display of affluence, craftsmanship, and beautiful design.

A Single Goal—The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is made possible by the generous support of Dr. Jacob Deegan, Maryland State Arts Council, and the Talbot County Arts Council, with revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County, and the Towns of Easton, Oxford and St Michaels.

Using models, paintings, historic photographs, artifacts such as wooden patterns and vintage signage and original drawings by John Trumpy, Sr., A Single Goal explores the detailed process of wooden boat building as an art form and highlights these distinctive yachts and their furnishings and finishings.

Read a September 2016 TripAdvisor review about the Trumpy exhibition here.

“CBMM_AmmoCamoCalls.jpg”Chesapeake Ammo, Camo and Calls

April 2016 – March 2017

The transformation of Chesapeake waterfowling gear, tools, and clothing over the last 100 years will be explored through artifacts, advertising ephemera, and photographs in a new exhibition. Chesapeake Ammo, Camo and Calls explores the fact that waterfowling is not just about decoys. A gunner needs a whole field kit of gear and tools-from clothing to guns, ammunition to duck and goose calls-to have a successful day in the field. Over the last 100 years, these waterfowling essentials have transformed from simple to sophisticated, reflecting innovation in firearm technology, camouflage development, and the ongoing search for an ever-more-persuasive call. Though today’s gear is more advanced in form, the function remains the same-to mimic the Chesapeake marshes, call in waterfowl on the wing, and finally get the perfect shot.Chesapeake Ammo, Camo and Calls is generously sponsored by Judy and Henry Stansbury, and the world’s leading decoy auction firm, Guyette & Deeter.

Eagle, wooden carving, from unknown tugboat, brought to St. Michaels by Robert Dryden, owner of Eagle House, and placed on the roof (c. 1908), where it remained for 57 years. The eagle was restored in 1965. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD, 1966-78-1. A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting

May 23, 2015 – March 26, 2017

With artifacts ranging from gilded eagles to a sailmaker’s sewing machine, a log-built bugeye to an intimate scene of crabpickers, A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting is a new major exhibition of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum that opened on Saturday, May 23, 2015, when the museum hosted a festival to kick off its year-long 50th anniversary celebration with Party on the Point: Celebrating 50 Years on the Bay.

ASMA_17thNational_Kramer17th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists

December 10, 2016 – April 2, 2017

The 17th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists is coming to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, with the exhibition jointly hosted at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels and the Academy Art Museum in Easton. The exhibition opens to the public at both venues on December 10, 2016, and continues through April 2, 2017, with private donor preview receptions scheduled for December 8 at CBMM and December 9 at AAM.