CBMM invites community to Welcome Center Grand Opening on Dec. 2 

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ST. MICHAELS, Md., Oct. 17, 2023 – The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is thrilled to invite the community to its Welcome Center Grand Opening on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 10am-4pm. 

The festivities will begin with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building at 10:30am and continue with a festival-style celebration highlighting the theme of “Winter on the Chesapeake” that features authentic Chesapeake Bay experiences, including food demonstrations, hands-on activities, campus tours, and live music. 

The entertainment includes a performance by renowned smooth jazz saxophonist and St. Michaels native Anthony “Turk” Cannon, whose father Wilson “Turk” Cannon was an iconic waterman who is featured in CBMM’s Oystering on the Chesapeake exhibition. 

CBMM general admission is free for all guests that day to share in the celebration of the transformational new addition to the campus experience. Get more information and sign up to receive the latest event updates via email at cbmm.org/WelcomeCenterGrandOpening

“This is a truly exciting day in CBMM’s history that has been many years in the making,” President & CEO Kristen Greenaway said. “Our wonderful new Welcome Center is integral to CBMM’s mission and takes the guest experience to the next level, and we look forward to sharing all that it has to offer with our friends and community partners at the Grand Opening. We’re grateful to all who have played a part in making this building a reality and delighted to celebrate with everyone.” 

CBMM’s new Welcome Center is a 12,000-square-foot, fully ADA-accessible building constructed overlooking Fogg’s Cove, housing three exhibition spaces, a reception desk, restrooms, and the Museum Store. Its construction marks the start of Phase II of CBMM’s ongoing Master Plan campus upgrades. 

Guests will find a new orientation exhibition, Navigating the Chesapeake’s Maritime Culture, constructed on a wall adjacent to the entrance that uses photos and artifacts to set up the themes found across campus. 

Water Lines: Chesapeake Watercraft Traditions is an exhibition showcasing CBMM’s small craft collection, some of which have been in storage and will be shared with guests for the first time, while the forthcoming Stories from the Shoreline exhibition will present an expansion of the storytelling in the current Waterfowling exhibition to include info about the ecology of the Bay and the experiences of the people who have called the region home over time. 

In its new home, the Museum Store will continue to be a shopping destination carrying unique items, including home decor, souvenirs, toys, and apparel with coastal, nautical, and regional themes. It’s a space designed to engage guests with stylized ceiling tiles, a historic photo of Crisfield’s Horsey Brothers Department Store, and several exhibit vessels. Guests exit onto the Joan & Ned Hennighausen Family Veranda with excellent views of the Miles River. 

During the Welcome Center Grand Opening, guests are invited to explore the new building while also experiencing “Winter on the Chesapeake” through special programming led by CBMM staff and community partners. There will also be a variety of food items and beverages, including beer and cocktails, available for purchase. 

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Anthony Cannon and his five-piece jazz ensemble will take the stage for a special homecoming performance. 

Cannon – who added “Turk” to his stage name in homage to his father – grew up just a few blocks away on Lee Street with a keen appreciation for the cultural heritage that CBMM preserves. 

For many years, Turk Cannon kept his workboat moored at Honeymoon Bridge adjacent to CBMM’s campus, and he also crewed on the skipjack E.C. Collier that is on exhibition in the Oystering building. In that exhibition, guests can find a life-size cutout of the elder Cannon and quotes from the waterman who served as a primary source during its construction in 1993. 

As part of that process, Turk Cannon shared his pride that his five children would not “have” to be watermen and could decide their own paths. With this concert, Anthony Cannon will help celebrate a new chapter in CBMM’s history with a nod to the past within view of the exhibition building that shares his father’s story. 

“Performing at CBMM will truly be a full circle moment for me and my family,” Cannon said. “St. Michaels is home and such a big part of who I am and the music that I play. It’s an honor to be part of the Welcome Center’s Grand Opening. We’re going to have a lot of fun celebrating that day.” 

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a non-profit educational organization that preserves and explores the history, environment, and culture of the entire Chesapeake Bay region, and makes this resource accessible to all. 

Every aspect of fulfilling this mission is driven by CBMM’s values of relevance, authenticity, and stewardship, along with a commitment to providing engaging guest experiences and transformative educational programming, all while serving as a vital community partner. For more information, visit cbmm.org or call 410-745-2916.