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Public reception to celebrate opening of Robert de Gast’s Chesapeake at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Community members are invited to a public reception celebrating the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s newest major exhibition, Robert de Gast’s Chesapeake, from 5 to 7 pm Friday, May 12, 2017.

With free admission, music, and a cash bar, the reception will give people a look at Robert de Gast’s photographs of the late 1960s and 70s, which document the Chesapeake’s oystering industry, shorelines, and lighthouses at a watershed moment, both for the Bay and for photography.

Deftly incorporating modern abstract elements into images that conveyed grit, humor, and atmosphere, de Gast masterfully represented a time of dramatic changes for the Chesapeake. This exhibition features masterpieces selected from more than 10,000 images in CBMM’s de Gast collections.

A limited-edition exhibition catalogue—which will be available for purchase at the reception and in the Museum Store—includes images from the exhibition, complemented by essays from journalist Randall Peffer, editor Robert Brugger, Chesapeake photographer David Harp, and CBMM’s chief curator Pete Lesher, who curated the exhibition and collected recorded interviews with the artist toward the end of de Gast’s life. Other de Gast-themed merchandise will also be available at the event.

The exhibition Robert de Gast’s Chesapeake is made possible by, Mr. & Mrs. Norman H. Plummer, Anne & Frank Mickey, Maryland State Arts Council, Ashton Designs, and Elizabeth C. Moose.

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 75,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated in a park-like, waterfront setting along the Miles River and St Michaels harbor. Charitable gifts to CBMM’s annual fund help preserve the objects in CBMM’s collection, with online giving and more information at

Robert de Gast made several trips to Deal Island to document the work of the oystermen, and he captured this patent tonger leaving the harbor at sunrise. Photograph by Robert de Gast, 1969, collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.