Tag Archives: New exhibition

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Kent’s Carvers and Clubs opens at CBMM April 14

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Photo by A. Aubrey Bodine. Copyright Jennifer B. Bodine

CBMM_KentCarvers_HollyGrove1_Trumpington(ST MICHAELS, MD – January 30, 2018) Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new waterfowling exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md.

The exhibition shares the stories of Maryland’s Kent County carvers and hunting clubs through a collection of decoys, oral histories, historic photographs, and other artifacts.

In the Rock Hall area of Kent County, virtually every young man grew up learning to hunt waterfowl in the early 1900s. That intimate knowledge of birds, their habits and their habitat translated into a marketable skill as gunning became the pastime of the wealthy. Rich photo documentation from the 1930s and 40s illustrate the camaraderie of the well-to-do business and professional men who flocked to Kent’s gunning shores to spend icy mornings in booby blinds, awaiting the arrival of ducks and geese and warm evenings by the club woodstove, where they feasted on local delicacies.

Oral history excerpts reveal the stories of hardworking guides, who found vital supplemental seasonal income. Captain John Glenn fashioned hand-chopped decoys from his Piney Neck home, “Decoy Farm,” and began to work with other local carvers to supply a wide variety of stool. While the “Rock Hall School of Carvers” was likely influenced by the work of Susquehanna Flats decoy makers, Kent carver Charlie Joiner learned directly from legendary Havre de Grace carver R. Madison Mitchell, and befriended the Ward brothers of Crisfield, developing his own distinct and notable style.

“Kent County’s bountiful waterfowl population and picturesque shorelines drew gentlemen hunters from the cities to organized gunning clubs, especially along the shores near Rock Hall and Eastern Neck,” said CBMM Collections Manager Jenifer Dolde, curator of the exhibition. “Knowledgeable local men served as guides, savvy property owners leased their land for clubs, and skillful Kent carvers created co-ops to craft decoys for the rigs of neighbors and club members.”

“Kent County has an enduring waterfowling culture—one that continues to flourish in the fields, necks and islands of the deeply-rural region,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “We’re grateful for the support of this exhibition to be able to explore this important part of Chesapeake history with our guests.”

GuyetteDeeterWEBONLYKent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops  is generously sponsored by Judy and Henry Stansbury, and the world’s leading decoy auction firm, Guyette & Deeter. Entry to the exhibition is free for CBMM members or with general admission. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs will travel to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md. November 9-11, 2018, and return to CBMM’s Waterfowling Building through March 31, 2019.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and culture of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving more than 70,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and numerous indoor and outdoor spaces, situated in a park-like, waterfront setting along the Miles River and St Michaels harbor. Charitable gifts to CBMM’s annual fund help support the non-profit’s exhibition, education, and restoration programs, with online giving and more information at cbmm.org/donate.

From now through October, 2018, CBMM’s guests can experience the log-hull restoration of the 1889 bugeye, Edna E. Lockwood, with more information at ednalockwood.org.

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PHOTOS:

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Two duck hunters take aim from a “booby” blind on the lower Chester River, c. 1950. Photo by A. Aubrey Bodine © Jennifer B. Bodine, courtesy of aaubreybodine.com. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The exhibition continues through March 31, 2019, with more at cbmm.org.    

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A member relaxes after the day’s shoot in thee Holly Grove gunning club room, on Kent County’s Eastern Neck, c. 1940. Courtesy of the Trumpington Collection. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The exhibition continues through March 31, 2019, with more at cbmm.org.

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Gunners wade into shore as their guide prepares to pull in the decoy rig from the waters near the Holly Grove gunning club, on Kent County’s Eastern Neck, c. 1940. Courtesy of the Trumpington Collection. Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops is a new exhibition opening Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The exhibition continues through March 31, 2019, with more at cbmm.org.

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Log Canoe Racing: Photographs by Morris Ellison opens June 16

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Photo by Morris Ellison

(ST MICHAELS, MD – June 9, 2017) Opening in conjunction with the 30th annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival, Log Canoe Racing: Photographs by Morris Ellison features photos of the Chesapeake Bay’s iconic sailing log canoes and continues at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. through September 25, 2017.

A native of Oxford, Ellison is a retired sailmaker and longtime log canoe sailor who now volunteers as a carpenter and varnisher in CBMM’s Boatyard.

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Photo by Morris Ellison

Ellison earned a Master of Philosophy in neurophysiology at Yale University. While continuing toward his Ph.D., his advisor asked, “Morris, how are you ever going to be successful if you keep going sailing on the weekends?” This led to a career change.

After several years as a sail designer and loft manager for North Sails, he started Ellison Sails in 1979 as a sail and boat canvas shop in Easton, Md. He has sailed on most of the log canoes and made sails for nine of them. For seven years, he trimmed the jib on Magic, a log canoe skippered by Jimmy Wilson, winning two Governor’s Cups and several high point trophies. Since then, he has photographed the log canoes from a small boat.

Ellison prints some of his canoe photos in sepia tone, giving them the feel of an old photograph, which he feels conveys a timeless quality to the classic log canoes.

Hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society, the 30th annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival runs June 16-18, and brings a sense of nostalgia to the Miles River and CBMM’s docks and campus, drawing some of the area’s finest classic boats, nautical and maritime treasures, entertainment, food, and libations to this waterfront festival.

This year’s festival will feature a selection of sailing log canoes on land and in the water. A regional adaptation of the traditional Indian dugout canoes, log canoes were used from the 18th through the 20th century as all-purpose Chesapeake craft, to harvest oysters, transport goods, and to get people from place to place. A small fleet continues—including CBMM’s Flying Cloud, Edmee S., Marianne, and Bufflehead—with many seen today along the Chesapeake’s Chester, Miles, Choptank and Tred Avon rivers during highly competitive sailing races each summer and fall. With long masts and large sails, these boats keep upright as they accelerate to speeds of 10 knots or more, with crew members climbing to the ends of 15-foot boards placed perpendicular to the boat itself.

To learn more, visit cbmm.org.

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PHOTOS:
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PHOTO BY MORRIS ELLISON

Log Canoe Racing: Photographs by Morris Ellison is opening at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., on June 16, in conjunction with the 30th annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival, held Father’s Day weekend. The exhibition features Ellison’s photos of the iconic sailing Chesapeake Bay log canoes, like this one of CBMM’s Bufflehead, and continues through September 25, 2017.

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PHOTO BY MORRIS ELLISON

Log Canoe Racing: Photographs by Morris Ellison is opening at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., on June 16, in conjunction with the 30th annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival, held Father’s Day weekend. The exhibition features Ellison’s photos of the iconic sailing Chesapeake Bay log canoes, like this one of Mystery, and continues through September 25, 2017.

Trumpy yacht exhibition opens at CBMM

"Freedom", a 104 ft fantail motor yacht designed by John Trumpy and built in 1926 by Mathis Yacht Building Company in Camden, NJ. Photo by Morris Rosenfeld, courtesy of the Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic Seaport Museum
FREEDOM, a 104 ft fantail motor yacht designed by John Trumpy and built in 1926 by Mathis Yacht Building Company in Camden, NJ. Photo by Morris Rosenfeld, courtesy of the Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic Seaport Museum

ST MICHAELS, MD – July 28, 2016) An exhibition tracing the design and construction of the distinctive Trumpy wooden yachts opens August 6 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., focusing its attention from 1909 through 1973, when the Trumpy Yacht Yard in Annapolis, Md. produced its last boat. The exhibition continues at CBMM through November 27, 2016 only.

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.

This exhibition runs through November, 27, 2016, and is free for CBMM members or with museum admission. For more information, call 410-745-2916 or visit www.cbmm.org.

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Freedom, a 104 ft fantail motor yacht designed by John Trumpy and built in 1926 by Mathis Yacht Building Company in Camden, NJ. Photo by Morris Rosenfeld, courtesy of the Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic Seaport Museum

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Trumpy Yacht Building exhibition opens at CBMM August 6

CBMM_Trumpy_Rumak_III_Marion_ Warren(ST. MICHAELS, MD – May 6, 2016) An exhibition tracing the design and construction of the distinctive Trumpy wooden yachts opens August 6, 2016 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. A Single Goal: The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building focuses its attention from 1909 through 1973, when the Trumpy Yacht Yard in Annapolis, Md. produced its last boat.

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.

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. The exhibition at CBMM is funded in part by a grant from 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.

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“The Trumpy Yard left behind a rich legacy—beautiful boats, John H. Trumpy’s exquisite draftsmanship, a team of highly skilled workers, and some wonderful stories,” commented CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “A Single Goal will provide the most comprehensive look at this legacy since the yard closed in 1973.

“The Trumpy yacht demanded perfection at all stages of the build,” continued Lesher. “This exhibition showcases the exquisite amenities and finest craftsmanship that went in to each vessel made.”

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.

CBMM_Trumpy_Consort_IVheelhouse_MorrisRosenfeldThe exhibition also traces the history of John Trumpy, Sr., who emigrated from Bergen, Norway, at the turn of the century. In 1909, he joined the Mathis Yacht Building Company in New Jersey as its vice president and naval architect, where he began designing several hundred wooden yachts and other vessels that would bear his name or his design imprimatur.

Upon John Mathis’ death in 1943, Trumpy, Sr. renamed the company, John Trumpy and Sons, as the next generation of boat builders—his sons John Jr. and Donald—became instrumental in the continuation of the business. In 1947, Trumpy moved the yard from Gloucester City, N.J., to Annapolis, Md., a prime location for boaters traveling up and down the eastern seaboard.

CBMM_Trumpy_trumpyenvelop_c1955Sigrid Trumpy, granddaughter of John Trumpy, Sr., and Maryland Hall for the Creative Art’s Director of Exhibitions, is the curator of A Single Goal, drawing upon her family’s rich historical archives and information and artifacts from Trumpy Yacht owners, restorers, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and other organizations and individuals, as well as historic photographs from the Marion Warren Collection and Rosenfeld Collection (Mystic, Ct.).

A Single Goal: The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building will be on view at CBMM from August 6 through November 27, 2016, after a showing at the Maryland Hall in Annapolis. Additional artifacts will be added to the exhibition while at CBMM, including a full size Trumpy-designed yacht tender and beautifully-drawn ship plans from the CBMM collection. The exhibition is free for CBMM members or with general admission.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving nearly 70,000 guests each year, the museum’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated on 18 waterfront acres along the Miles River and St. Michaels’ harbor. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.

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PHOTOS
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The 79-foot cruiser Rumak III was dressed in nautical signal flags for her launch at the John Trumpy and Sons yard in 1955. Photo by Marion Warren, courtesy of M.E. Warren Photography, LLC. A Single Goal: The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building is a traveling exhibition coming to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., August 6, 2016 through November 27, 2016. Curated by the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.

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The wheelhouse of the 90-foot houseboat Consort IV, built in 1936, shows the brightly finished woodwork typical of John H. Trumpy’s designs. Photo by Morris Rosenfeld, courtesy of the Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic Seaport Museum. A Single Goal: The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building is a traveling exhibition coming to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., August 6, 2016 through November 27, 2016. Curated by the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.

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The houseboat Freedom, seen under way about 1930, exhibited the varnished wood cabin and clean white topsides emblazoned with the scrollwork “T” at the bow that characterized John Trumpy’s designs. Photo by Morris Rosenfeld, courtesy of the Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic Seaport Museum. A Single Goal: The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building is a traveling exhibition coming to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., August 6, 2016 through November 27, 2016. Curated by the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.

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Trumpy’s printed envelopes provided a waterfront view of the yard in Annapolis’ location after World War II. Photo by Marion Warren, courtesy of M.E. Warren Photography, LLC. A Single Goal: The Art of Trumpy Yacht Building is a traveling exhibition coming to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., August 6, 2016 through November 27, 2016. Curated by the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.

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Snapshots to Selfies opens May 22 at CBMM

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(ST. MICHAELS, MD – March 3, 2016) Through a collection of submitted photos covering the last 50 summers on the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will be opening Snapshots to Selfies: 50 Years of Chesapeake Summers as its first community-curated exhibition on May 22, 2016, when the museum hosts its Community Block Party event. The exhibition runs through November 30, 2017, and features more than 240 photos of people living, working, and playing on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The Museum invited the public to submit their personal photos as part of CBMM’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2015. The goal was to use the submitted images to create an exhibition of photos documenting people’s memories from the last 50 summers spent around the Chesapeake Bay.

“The response from the public was overwhelming,” said Director of Education and exhibition curator, Kate Livie. “We received an incredible number of submissions documenting people’s treasured memories on the Bay—so many more photos than we could ever house in any traditional on-site exhibition. Thus we decided that the best way to share these intimate, beautiful photos is to display them somewhere everyone can see them all—online. We’ve developed a truly world-class online exhibition, making sure these photos and the memories they represent are available for anyone, anytime, to be shared and enjoyed. For our guests at CBMM, we’ll also have a kiosk set up so visitors can explore the entire collection of photos.”

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For the May 22 event, the exhibition will be on display at a kiosk in the At Play on the Bay exhibition building, and found online at snapshots.cbmm.org.

As part of the exhibition’s opening, CBMM will also unveil three new cut-outs for people to take photos in, much like what guests are used to seeing at the museum’s entrance. The new cutouts will include a scene of crab pickers, a giant pair of waterman’s boots to climb into, and a giant crab pot where visitors can be the crab. Using the hashtag #CBMMsnapshots, festival goers and CBMM guests will be encouraged to take their photos in the new cutouts and submit their photos online to the exhibition.

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“The photos in this exhibition capture the magic and the joy of Chesapeake summers,” continued Livie. “Snapshots to Selfies shares these  intimate moments—and for those that submitted to the exhibition, provides an opportunity to be a part of Chesapeake Bay history that will live with the museum and through this exhibition.

“Photos in Snapshots to Selfies include images of people crabbing, sailing, and working on the water. It also captures watershed moments in people’s lives, from the first ever Bay Bridge walk to images of marriages, babies, and even a few in dedication of a lost loved one, all connected in some way to the Chesapeake Bay.”

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“Having Snapshots to Selfies online means that everyone will have access to the exhibition, not just our physical guests,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “This is extremely important as accessibility to the museum for everyone is one of our key focus areas. We also wanted to be innovative and engaging with today’s audiences, many of whom spend time online. Having Snapshots online achieves this, and represents the forward-thinking approaches CBMM is taking in all of its initiatives.”

On Sunday, May 22, 2016, the 18-acre waterfront campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will transform into festival grounds as the museum hosts its Community Block Party. Underwritten by a large number of generous community sponsors, the Block Party is offered free of charge and open to the general public. It will feature several performance stages, free boat rides, live music, regional foods and libations, Chesapeake-related family activities, and more.

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The Block Party’s presenting sponsors include CBMM’s Friends Board, Choptank Community Health Services, Phyllis and Marc Castelli and the Carla Massoni Gallery, the Miles River Yacht Club Foundation’s Sink or Swim Program (SOS), and media sponsors What’s Up Magazine and 96.7 WCEI, which will be broadcasting live throughout the event.

Activities are exclusively presented by Ouvert’s “Out of the Box” Gallery, Fitness Rx,  Blackwater Paddle and Pedal Adventures, Talbot Watermen’s Association,  Ben Franklin Crafts, Kiln Born Creations, Beat the Rush Delivery, BJ’s Wholesale Club of Easton, McHale Landscape Design, Rising Tide Partners, and San Domingo Fair Trade Coffee and Goods. Youth performance stages are sponsored by The Talbot Bank, Mid-Shore Dance Academy, Sherwood Auto of Salisbury, The SRVP Group – A Baird Financial Company, Tri Gas & Oil, Ewing Dietz Fountain and Kaludis, P.A., and Hair O’ the Dog Wine & Spirits. The performance programs are sponsored in part by the Talbot County Arts Council, with funding from Talbot County and the Towns of Easton, Oxford, and St. Michaels. In-kind event sponsors include Eastern Shore Tents & Events, Bay Hundred Covenant Churches, Rommel’s Ace Hardware, AskNeal AV, Imagination Library of Talbot County, Talbot Optimist Club, Hog Neck Golf Course, and Peach Blossom Events.

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving more than 70,000 guests each year, the museum’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated on 18 waterfront acres along the Miles River and St. Michaels’ harbor. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org.

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PHOTOS
(Please click on the photo to download high resolution image file)

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This photo was submitted to the online Snapshots to Selfies Exhibition by Flip Frugler. Taken in 1965, the photo features (l-r) Barbara Harding, Charlotte Krugler, Brech Chapman, and Ralph Harding at the wheel. The story included reads “Don’t be fooled by the New Jersey registration on this boat. The owner, Ralph Harding, lived in New Jersey but always vacationed on the Eastern Shore at Wades Point. Ralph was a sales manager for the company that made “PowerHouse” candy bars, hence the name of the boat. Passengers in the nearly flat-bottomed boat always got a jarring but thrilling ride.” The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s online exhibition, Snapshots to Selfies opens May 22, 2016 at snapshots.cbmm.org.

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This photo was submitted to the online Snapshots to Selfies Exhibition by Jay Aigeltinger. Taken in 1981 on the Upper Chesapeake Bay, the photo features a “fun shot of Tony taking a nap cruising down the Bay—Love the tanker in the background!” The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s online exhibition, Snapshots to Selfies opens May 22, 2016 at snapshots.cbmm.org.

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This photo was submitted to the online Snapshots to Selfies Exhibition by Rick Brady. Taken in 1973, on the South River near Riva, the photo features “Pat Brady waterskiing behind a friend’s boat on Broad Creek, off South River.” The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s online exhibition, Snapshots to Selfies opens May 22, 2016 at snapshots.cbmm.org.

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This photo was submitted to the online Snapshots to Selfies Exhibition by Flip Krugler. Taken in 1965 on Wades Point, McDaniel, MD on the Eastern Bay (now known as Wades Point Inn on the Bay), the photo was submitted with the following caption “The pier at Wades Point served many purposes; swimming, sunning, a place to watch a sunset or to tie up a boat, and of course, fishing. Here, yound and old are seen trying their luck on a breezy overcast day on the Eastern Bay.” The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s online exhibition, Snapshots to Selfies opens May 22, 2016 at snapshots.cbmm.org.

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The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s online community-curated exhibition, Snapshots to Selfies opens May 22, 2016 at snapshots.cbmm.org.

African-American sailmaker Downes Curtis’ bench and tools are featured in the exhibition A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting

A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting opens May 23 in St. Michaels

(ST. MICHAELS, MD – March 9, 2015)

A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting opens May 23
in St. Michaels

 

Maintained afloat at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the Hoopers Island dovetail Martha was built by Bronza M. Parks at Wingate, Md., in 1934, and is part of a new exhibition opening at the museum Inspired by experiences on the Chesapeake Bay, the “Log of the Rita,” was created by Baltimore yachtsman Hunt R.M. Thom and his artistic friends in 1897 and 1898.
Chesapeake Bay ferryboat captain Daniel G. Higgin’s uniform hat and jacket will be presented to the public for the first time in the exhibition A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting African-American sailmaker Downes Curtis’ bench and tools are featured in the exhibition A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting

 

Click on the images to download high resolution.

 

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 will open to the public on Saturday, May 23, 2015, when the museum hosts a festival to kick off its year-long 50th anniversary celebration with Party on the Point: Celebrating 50 Years on the Bay.

A Broad Reach features 50 significant objects that have been accessioned into the museum’s collection over the past 50 years, and will be accompanied by a commemorative catalogue available for purchase that features photographs of each collection piece. Presented on both floors of the Steamboat Building, the exhibition continues through February 28, 2016.

The exhibition is generously underwritten by museum donors and 50th anniversary corporate partners, including PNC Financial Services Group, American Cruise Lines, Benson & Mangold, Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Easton Utilities, Fairfield Inn & Suites Easton, Graul’s Market, Guilford & Company, Higgins & Spencer, Patriot Cruises, Tidewater Inn, and the Vane Brothers Company. CBMM’s 50th anniversary partners include the Academy for Lifelong Learning, St. Michaels Art League, and Christmas in St. Michaels.

“The challenge of whittling down a small selection of outstanding highlights from a collection containing 60,000 objects, manuscripts, historic photographs, and more was both monumental and delightful,” said CBMM Chief Curator, Pete Lesher. “Objects and images were unearthed with white gloves from their protected places in storage, with each assessed for its meaning, beauty, and relevance. In selecting these objects, we looked for objects representing the full breadth of the collection and our mission.”

A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting will feature those objects with the richest stories to tell, from a humble fire axe to a buxom figurehead. Some will be arresting, some will be transcendent—all will explore the Chesapeake and its changing environment and culture over the last 50 years. Some of the objects in A Broad Reach represent bygone Chesapeake trades that have all but disappeared in recent years.

A sailmaker’s bench, representing the art of traditional, hand-crafted sailmaking, is one of those. Oxford, Md. native Downes Curtis learned sailmaking as a youth from the town’s old English sailmaker, David Pritchard. When Pritchard died, his African-American apprentice, Curtis, took over the business. After rescuing most of his tools from a 1943 fire, Curtis moved his shop to the town’s former black schoolhouse, where he continued working until his death in 1996. Curtis built sails for some of the area’s best racing yachtsmen, including a number of log canoe sailors.

While much of his work was done on his sewing machine, Curtis used his sailmaker’s bench and hand tools for specialized jobs, like working a cringle into the corner of a sail. Curtis’ tools and equipment remind us of the artisanry and skill developed by maritime craftsmen during the years when spirited recreational sailing competitions on the Chesapeake Bay kept sail lofts humming with sewing machines.

Of course, those sails also required boats— hardly a rarity in the working Chesapeake during the early 20th century. The museum maintains the largest collection of indigenous Chesapeake Bay boats in the world, some of them still maintained afloat, so several are represented in the exhibition.

With pretty sterns that looked like motor racers, dovetail boats were designed in the early 1900s to accommodate gasoline engines. Martha was built by Bronza Parks in 1934 for $350, and named for the owner’s daughter, Martha Lewis. The vessel was used for oyster tonging and trotlining for crabs. A familiar sight in Dorchester County, this type of boat has many nicknames, and is also referred to as a ducktail, draketail, torpedo-stern, or Hoopers Island launch, after the island where it originates. Although Martha was undoubtedly a boat that worked hard, her elegant, long lines and beautifully-finished details make her an exceptional addition to the exhibition, representing a perfect marriage of form and function.

The Chesapeake still supports commercial fisheries and the workboats that service them, but some of the stories told in A Broad Reach are of industries and traditions that are now part of the bay’s past. Chesapeake ferries, once an essential component of regional transportation for thousands, are a perfect example. Stories of the Chesapeake’s ferries evoke the connections among people across the bay over time, but also about the way the bay can isolate the Eastern Shore.

Until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened in 1952, the Chesapeake Bay Ferry System connected the opposite shores of the bay. Daniel G. Higgins Sr. started working for the ferry in 1919, and three years later—at age 30—became the youngest ferry captain, wearing a blue wool hat and coat as part of his uniform. Higgins, the senior captain on the ferry system in its final years, was allowed to choose which boat he wanted to captain. Higgins elected to command the smallest and slowest boat in the fleet, Gov. Emerson C. Harrington II, which, although not the most prestigious vessel, ran a route to his tiny hometown of Claiborne, Md.

The Chesapeake has been a functional highway for transportation and industry, but its gentle landscapes and wide rivers have also acted as a muse for artists, musicians, and authors for hundreds of years. One of the exhibition’s most beautiful objects reflects the Chesapeake’s ability to inspire and evoke creative emotions. In 1897, Baltimore businessman Hunt M.R. Thom had a logbook custom made for his new 42-foot naphtha yacht. Throughout the summer of 1898, he cruised the Chesapeake Bay with prominent members of Baltimore’s artistic community. Eleven of these artists—including Phillip Boileau, Hugh Nicholson, and Irving Ward—contributed drawings or paintings to Thom’s log, inspired by the Chesapeake Bay and sights of their cruise. Poignant, funny, or sometimes just lovely, Thom’s logbook bears witness to the incredible depth of human sentiment stirred by the Chesapeake’s changing scenery.

From a jewel-like logbook to a rough wool uniform, simple objects can convey volumes about the Chesapeake Bay’s people, places, and culture. A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting will feature these stories and more, exploring the evolving way the Chesapeake Bay continues to define our art, our lives, and our legacy.

Entry to the exhibition and festival is free for museum members and children under six, or $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students with ID, and $6 for children 6-17. To become a 50th anniversary corporate sponsor, contact René Stevenson at rstevenson@cbmm.org. For more information, follow CBMM on Facebook or visit www.cbmm.org.

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PHOTOS/CUTLINES:

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African-American sailmaker Downes Curtis’ bench and tools are featured in the exhibition A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting, which opens at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on May 23, 2015 in St. Michaels, Md. The exhibition features 50 significant objects that have been accessioned into the museum’s collection over the past 50 years, and will be accompanied by a commemorative catalogue available for purchase in the Museum Store, featuring photographs of each collection piece. On May 23, CBMM is also hosting its Party on the Point: 50 Years on the Bay festival, which kicks off a year-long celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary. For event and exhibition details, go to www.cbmm.org. Digital image by David W. Harp © Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

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Chesapeake Bay ferryboat captain Daniel G. Higgin’s uniform hat and jacket will be presented to the public for the first time in the exhibition A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting, which opens on both floors of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Steamboat Building on Saturday, May 23, 2015. Details are at www.cbmm.org. Digital image by David W. Harp © Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

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Inspired by experiences on the Chesapeake Bay, the “Log of the Rita,” was created by Baltimore yachtsman Hunt R.M. Thom and his artistic friends in 1897 and 1898. A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting is a major exhibition opening May 23, 2015 at the waterfront Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., and features these stories and more, exploring the evolving way the Chesapeake Bay continues to define our art, our lives, and our legacy. Details about the exhibition are found at www.cbmm.org. Digital image by David W. Harp © Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

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Maintained afloat at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the Hoopers Island dovetail Martha was built by Bronza M. Parks at Wingate, Md., in 1934, and is part of a new exhibition opening at the museum. A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting opens to the public on Saturday, May 23, 2015, when the museum hosts a festival to kick off its year-long 50th anniversary celebration with Party on the Point: Celebrating 50 Years on the Bay. During the festival, boat rides on Martha, among others, will be offered. Details about the exhibition and festival can be found at www.cbmm.org. Digital image by Tracey Munson © Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.