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Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum announces fall Speaker Event schedule

ST. MICHAELS, Md – The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has a wide range of opportunities for lifelong learners to engage with the region’s history, environment, and culture over the coming months through its Speaker Event programming. The upcoming schedule features six events that will be hosted in the Van Lennep Auditorium and also available virtually.

The offerings, including programs built around CBMM’s special exhibitions The Changing Chesapeake and Her Helm, are designed to spark important conversations while fostering connections between the past, present, and future of the Bay. They are supported by the Upper Shore Regional Folklife Center under the Maryland Traditions program of the Maryland State Arts Council.

The suggested ticket cost is $8 per session, except for the “Changing Chesapeake Coffeehouse” concert, which is $15. To sign up, and get more information, visit

“CBMM is pleased to host such a wide range of events this fall, including scholars, community leaders, and artists,” Vice President of Education & Interpretation Jill Ferris said. “We hope you will join us throughout this series, which explores so many facets of Chesapeake life, including the inspiration of art and music, climate change in the region, and local connections to significant historical events.”

The fall series begins Thursday, Sept. 14 at 5:30pm, with an exhibition-opening artist talk with Her Helm photographer Kristin Rutkowski.

With her two-year “Her Helm” portrait project, Rutkowski sought to challenge gendered stereotypes by highlighting more than 50 women who captain vessels on the Chesapeake Bay. In this talk, the Maryland-based photographer will share how the project started, what it meant to the women who participated, what it means to society, and some of the insights she learned along the way.

CBMM will welcome acoustic-electric trio Big Tribe to campus on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 7pm for “Songs about the Water,” a concert of songs and stories with a dose of science.

This “Changing Chesapeake Coffeehouse” concert will feature fare provided by Blue Heron Coffee of St. Michaels and highlight songs drawing inspiration from local rivers to the Gulf oil spill and hurricane disasters.

Big Tribe is catalyzed by singer-songwriter and retired biology professor Peter Panyon alongside Bonnie Eyler and Joe Heutte. The group’s music video for the song “Can’t Work the River” is currently on view in CBMM’s special exhibition, The Changing Chesapeake.

On Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 5:30pm, CBMM will partner with Temple B’nai Israel to present “S.S. President Warfield to Exodus 1947: The Chesapeake Steamship That Launched Israel.”

CBMM’s Chief Historian Pete Lesher and University of Maryland Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Herf will share the story of a Chesapeake vessel with a symbolic role in the formation of Israel 75 years ago. S.S. President Warfield was a luxury liner carrying passengers between Baltimore and Norfolk, Va., until it was called into service in World War II. Afterward, a Zionist organization attempted to use the ship, renamed Exodus 1947, to bring Jewish refugees to Palestine.

Light refreshments will be available starting at 5pm. This event is made possible in part through the generosity of Marlene and Phil Feldman.

The Speaker Event series continues Monday, Oct. 23 at 5:30pm with another Her Helm program, this time featuring Capt. Judy Bixler.

During “Her Helm: The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry Tale,” Bixler will share her experiences operating the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry—believed to be the oldest privately owned ferry service in the U.S.— over the past two decades.

On Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 5:30pm, CBMM, in collaboration with the Maryland Geographic Alliance, hosts Chesapeake Bay Foundation President & CEO Hilary Harp Falk for “Facing Our Unfinished Challenge: Saving the Bay in the 21st Century.”

Since January 2022, Falk has been the leader of the Annapolis-based conservation organization whose motto, “Save the Bay,” has become a regional rallying cry for pollution reduction throughout the Chesapeake’s six-state watershed. This talk will cover CBF’s continuing efforts to create understanding of the Bay’s poor health, engage public leaders, and maintain a cleanup approach that features real accountability through the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

Also, mark your calendar for CBMM’s first Speaker Event in the new year. Prof. Laura Guertin presents “Quilting Climate Science & Solutions” on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, at 3pm.

A distinguished professor of Earth Sciences at Penn State Brandywine, Guertin has turned to a unique medium to connect new audiences with science stories: quilting. In this program, she will present an overview of climate science, and highlight examples of actions we can take in addressing these changes – all communicated via quilts. One example, “Looking Out at the Ghosts of the Coast,” is on exhibit as part of CBMM’s The Changing Chesapeake.

Stay tuned for more Speaker Events coming in early 2024. Find more information about all of CBMM’s upcoming events at