Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum announces Ford’s departure

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum announces John Ford of Easton, Md., will be departing from CBMM this June, after more than 29 years of service at the non-profit. CBMM will be hosting a private reception to honor Ford for his service.

“We are very grateful for John’s years of service helping to forward the mission of CBMM,” commented CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “As a stalwart staff member and friend, John’s legacy will always remain here—especially in the programs he helped develop, and the people whose lives have been touched by his gentlemanly and kind demeanor.”

Ford joined CBMM’s staff in May 1990 as Director of Operations, after previously working at Crockett Brothers Boatyard in Oxford, Md. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Towson University, and currently serves as President of Easton Town Council, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, and Historic Cemeteries of Easton, Inc.

“I had the good fortune to hire John: he was my second in command, my go to person,” remarked former CBMM President and current Grayce B. Kerr Foundation President John Valliant. “He was the quintessential mediator on campus, always able to smooth ruffled feathers. I owe a great debt to him for my successes at CBMM.”

When CBMM embarked on a major building campaign in the late ‘90s, Ford took the lead as project manager. Throughout his career, he helped shape the creation of CBMM’s Academy for Lifelong Learning, and jointly taught literature classes every year since its inception, while serving as the staff liaison for the program. In 2007, he transitioned to Facilities Manager, a role he maintained.

“John Ford and I go back to 1998, 21 years ago this summer, when I arrived at CBMM from Pittsburgh to become Director of Development,” said John Miller, who has co-facilitated more than 50 Academy for Lifelong Learning literature classes with Ford. “Over these years, I have had the extraordinary privilege to witness John’s blossoming self-confidence as a teacher of literature. I believe John has been the subtle catalyst for making ALL what it has become—an organization that is critical to our intellectual, mental, physical, civic, and communal well-being. While John has worn many hats with distinction throughout his career, at heart he is a Professor of English Literature. Congratulations, Doc!”

This May, the Academy for Lifelong Learning’s Board of Directors announced its departure from CBMM, with the diverse education opportunities ALL has provided for 19 years to continue as Chesapeake Forum, an Academy for Lifelong Learning. Beginning in fall 2019, Chesapeake Forum will offer a number of courses at various venues throughout Easton, Oxford, and St. Michaels, with Ford serving in a leadership position with the new organization.

Over his career, Ford has seen CBMM grow from a small regional museum to an internationally recognized institution, today drawing nearly 80,000 annual guests. Reflecting on his service with CBMM, Ford commented he is most proud of his work with the Academy for Lifelong Learning and the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

“One of his early responsibilities was the coordination of festivals, and he came to love CBMM’s Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival,” commented CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher, who also spent more than nine years serving on Easton Town Council with Ford. “As John’s position changed over the years, he retained his role in coordinating that festival weekend, helping to create and sustain one of the most beloved festivals CBMM offers.”

“John Ford has been an amazing friend to the sustenance, perhaps even the restoration, of the small craft movement on the Atlantic Coast,” commented Vera England, a long-time organizer and participant in the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival. “His good natured organization of MASCF and willingness to advocate for boats on the water has helped keep small boating alive on the Bay, and instilled the mission of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in even the youngest participants.”

“John Ford is a great friend and the best ‘boss’ I have ever had—even with no raises and he is a Packer fan,” said CBMM volunteer and master gardener Roger Galvin. “Since 2009, we have designed, plowed, planted, fertilized, mulched, weeded, pruned, etc., more than a dozen gardens around CBMM’s campus; we have literally planted thousands of bulbs, grasses, perennials, shrubs, and trees. And John really has done most of the work, day by day. With John making his next move, his leadership, knowledge, and humor will be surely missed at CBMM.”

“Who can pull weeds while quoting Shakespeare? A gentleman and a scholar, John Ford,” commented CBMM volunteer and master gardener Mary Sue Traynelis. “The Bard observed, appreciated, understood and beautifully described his surroundings, flora, fauna and human nature. We are saying farewell to our resident bard.

“John makes it a pleasure to volunteer at CBMM,” continued Traynelis. “As a driving force for the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, he helped create a fun and completely interactive environment for messing about in small boats.”

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and culture of the entire Chesapeake Bay region, and making this resource available to all.

Every aspect of fulfilling this mission is driven by CBMM’s values of relevancy, 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 or call 410-745-2916.

John Ford