Meet: Bruce Ragsdale, Board Member
Bruce Ragsdale first became connected to the Chesapeake Bay when he and his now husband, Rick, would take day trips to the area. Bruce laughs and recalls that they began frequenting the region from their Washington, DC home when they took their dog swimming along the waters of the Eastern Shore. They often stayed on Tilghman Island and soon became so enamored with the area that they purchased a home in 2003.
Water has always been a part of Bruce’s life. His family is from the Jersey Shore, and he often took family trips to Maine to visit his grandmother. With a strong desire to be near the water, Talbot County was a natural fit for him and Rick.
Bruce first encountered the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum 30 years ago, and became a regular guest once he and Rick moved here. A professional historian by trade, Bruce believes local museums offer the best way to truly understand a community and its history.
“CBMM is not only a museum of maritime culture. It is also the best local history museum around,” said Bruce. “It gives people a sense of place, and gives awareness to the history of the entire region.”
Bruce loves the museum’s collections, and sees CBMM’s most successful exhibition as the Oystering Building. “It’s where all the different strands of history come together, and demonstrates how interconnected people of the Chesapeake Bay region are.”
The exhibition highlights both economic and local history, exploring the impact of the seafood industry in the region. Bruce also loves the Small Boat Shed, because it highlights just how many different watercraft are unique to the area.
The Museum sets maritime history in a broader context, and makes it accessible to everyone. Bruce is very committed to encouraging increased engagement with the community, particularly youth and minority groups. “CBMM has taken a wonderful and inspiring new direction over the last year, and I’m excited to see it progress further.”
Bruce hopes to use his role on the Board—which he has served on since 2010—to further engage the public. His career as a historian has given him a unique insight as to how people interpret their own history. “Engaging in the local history is the best way to get connected to the community.”
The Museum is a tremendous asset to the community; it gives it a sense of identity and place. “The Museum is just a great, fun place to be involved. Great people are everywhere here.”
CBMM would like to thank Bruce for his time and dedication to the Museum!