Meet: CBMM Vice Chair Henry Stansbury
“There are too many people as it is who don’t understand the importance of Maryland history.”
Henry Stansbury is a Marylander whose family has been here since the 1600s. It’s a great point of pride that everyone in 10 generations of the family tree has been born and died in the state. Henry displays the same fondness for the Chesapeake Bay that is visible in any native Marylander.
He fondly remembers his early teenage years, when he would sail in a small boat to Miller Island, and spend the nights there if the flies weren’t too bad. The history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay also led Henry to find his passion: Henry has more than 30 years of interest collecting waterfowl and oystering memorabilia. Henry has also written two books on carvers, and numerous articles on waterfowl heritage.
It was this passion that led him to the Museum. Henry was serving as Maryland Historical Society’s President when CBMM Chief Curator, Pete Lesher, served on the Society’s Museum Committee. Henry worked on the Historical Society’s Maritime Committee, where he helped create exhibitions highlighting decoys. In 2009, Henry became a CBMM Board Member, where he now serves as Vice-Chair. Henry brings experience in volunteer leadership, as well as an incredible depth of knowledge of mid-Atlantic maritime history to the Museum.
As one may guess, Henry’s favorite part of the Museum is the waterfowl exhibition building. Henry has played a key role in building this collection, and is constantly helping CBMM think up new exhibition opportunities to highlight the Chesapeake Bay region’s waterfowl heritage. Most recently, he has been instrumental in creating Chesapeake Swan Song, a new exhibition opening April 11, 2015 that explores the story of the evolving relationship between the people and swans of the Chesapeake Bay through a collection of decoys, photographs, and artifacts from the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition runs through April 3, 2016, and Henry encourages all members and their guests to visit this wonderful display.
Henry takes great pride in the Museum. He wishes that everyone knew that CBMM boasts the greatest collection of Chesapeake Bay artifacts, and represents a broad cross section of Bay heritage. It’s diverse in its offerings, which includes the floating fleet, the oystering and waterfowl exhibitions, and numerous education programs for guests of all ages. He believes that the staff and leadership are the Museum’s greatest strengths, and together they create a strong and cohesive operation.
Henry points out that CBMM is in a league of its own when it comes to presenting maritime history in such a comprehensive way, effectively telling the story of the Chesapeake Bay. “There are too many people as it is who don’t understand the importance of Maryland history.” He points out the role of the Bay as a highway which tied Maryland together and provided necessary linkage between food and families. Beyond that, it provided a link to the Midwest and to many international ports.
We would like to thank Henry for his years of dedicated service to the Museum, and especially for his support and sponsorship of the upcoming exhibition, Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation!