The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Maryland, USA
The exhibit explores the impact of the War of 1812 on the people of the Chesapeake - black and white Americans, militiamen, Baltimore merchants, and British sailors who found opportunity or misfortune amid the conflict. Their diaries, artefacts, portraits, and articles reveal their personal stories, and the ways the War of 1812 on the Chesapeake challenged American ideas about freedom.
While traditional interpretations of the conflict tend to focus on major land and naval battles, illustrious American and British heroes, and the political machinations of nation against nation, the Navigating Freedom exhibit explores the transformation, impact, and legacy of the War of 1812 through the lives of the men and women directly affected by the political, economic, and emotional upheaval.
The sources of these accounts of national struggle are the product of new research from a variety of collaborators including CBMM’s Center for Chesapeake Studies (CCS), the Maryland State Archives’ Legacy of Slavery in Maryland program, Pulitzer-prize winning historian Dr. Alan Taylor, and Hirelings: African-American Workers and Free Labor in Early Maryland author and professor Dr. Jennifer Dorsey, among others.
A team of curatorial and design professionals have translated the extensive original research into an exhibit that connects the visitor with the War of 1812 as seen through the perspective of Chesapeake Bay folk across the social and economic spectrum.
In addition, CBMM partnered with Washington College’s GIS laboratory to generate a 3D virtual flyover of the Battle of St. Michaels, as well as maps highlighting the cultural landscapes of the area, which are incorporated into the exhibit. Additional stories, research, and activities are being shared with the public beyond CBMM’s campus through an interactive online exhibit, curriculum materials, teacher workshops, and a selection of public programs for all ages.
The exhibition continues until 2015.
The picture depicts Admiral Cockburn burning & plundering Havre de Grace on the 1st of June 1813.
Attributed to William Charles, circa 1813. Hambleton Print Collection. Reproduced with permission from the Maryland Historical Society.