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Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) receives grant for War of 1812 exhibit

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, (CBMM) in St. Michaels, MD recently received a Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) grant to support a Chesapeake Bay-focused War of 1812 exhibit at the museum. Coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the war’s Battle of St. Michaels, the exhibit is scheduled to open in spring 2013 and continue through February 2015.

Pictured from left: CBMM Director of the Center for Chesapeake Studies Robert Forloney, CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher, Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area Executive Director Deborah Divins Davis, St. Michaels Town Commission President Michael Vlahovich, and CBMM President Langley Shook stand next to the recently installed Star-Spangled Banner War of 1812 kiosk, now at the museum in St. Michaels.

CBMM’s exhibit will focus on the issues and events related to the regional hostilities on the Chesapeake Bay. The exhibit will highlight local stories including shipbuilding during the time of the war, and the Battle of St. Michaels, which occurred on August 10, 1813.

“Most war exhibits focus on military battles,” explains CBMM’s Director of the Center for Chesapeake Studies Robert Forloney. “Our exhibit will focus on the social history of the war—like the stories of shipbuilders, farmers, sailors, and the men and women who lived throughout the Chesapeake region during the time of the war.”

CBMM became eligible for the MHAA grant when the Town of St. Michaels was included in the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area in July 2012. “Thanks especially go to the Commissioners of St. Michaels,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “The Commissioners took the necessary steps in the Town’s comprehensive plan to allow the museum and other nonprofit or government entities to become eligible for this grant program.”

In collaboration with the Maryland State Archives, CBMM is undertaking original research concerning impressment, slavery, and African American experiences during and following the war. Using a social history approach and focusing on the daily lives and work of regional people impacted by the war, the exhibit will provide visitors with larger contexts for understanding Chesapeake history.

MHAA has awarded 63 matching grants totaling $2,713,480 to Maryland non-profits, local jurisdictions, and other heritage tourism organizations. These grants support heritage tourism projects and activities that expand economic development and tourism-related job creation through the state.

CBMM is also a Star-Spangled 200 Official Partner in the statewide bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 and a National Park Service’s (NPS) Chesapeake Bay Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail participant. More information about the museum can be found at

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