War of 1812

Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy
Presented by the Von Hess Foundation

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was one of the femme fatales of the War of 1812 generation, setting the gossipmongers atwitter with her revealing empire dresses at society events. Her marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte’s younger brother Jerome became an international drama. Even at ninety-four, Elizabeth was still making news as one of America’s richest women. As the official keeper of Elizabeth’s memory, The Maryland Historical Society is launching a major new exhibition, entitled “Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and the Quest for an Imperial Legacy” that will open on June 9, 2013.

Portrait of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, George D'Almaine after Gilbert Stuart, 1856, Maryland Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Charles Joseph Bonaparte, xx.5.78
Portrait of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, George D'Almaine after Gilbert Stuart, 1856, Maryland Historical Society, Gift of Mrs. Charles Joseph Bonaparte, xx.5.78

The exhibition illustrates the ‘two worlds’ of France and America that Elizabeth inhabited and showcases her pearl and garnet tiara, silver, porcelain, paintings, textiles, jewelry, manuscripts, furniture and one of her "scandalous" dresses in the French-style. Curator-led tours will be offered on Sunday, June 9th at 1pm and 3pm, and on Thursday, June 20th at 6pm.

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In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland during the War of 1812

In Full Glory Reflected is Maryland’s largest display devoted to the War of 1812 and its era. The exhibition fills an entire gallery floor with a fascinating array of artifacts and documents, many donated by the Defenders of Baltimore themselves.

Visitors explore life in the early-nineteenth century as they follow Baltimore’s evolution from a small, scenic village to a bustling boomtown. Clipper ships carry them from the Chesapeake to China, and they discover the significance of maritime trade during this period. They watch as impressments, riots, and raids lead to war with Great Britain, and as war leads to battles like Bladensburg and North Point. They experience the disastrous surrender of the capital in Washington, and the heroic defense of Baltimore. Finally, they learn how the War of 1812 has been and will be commemorated. Visitors leave the exhibition considering what Americans were thinking, feeling, and doing during the early-nineteenth century. They also have a better understanding of the experience of Marylanders during the War of 1812.

The exhibition features many important objects, including: a mug known as the “Etting Cup,” circa 1814, owned by Samuel Etting and etched with images and names associated with the Battle of Baltimore; a canteen inscribed by Shipley Liester Jr. and used in the Battle of North Point on September 12, 1814; Rembrandt Peale’s portraits of Joshua Barney, George Armistead, and other Defenders of Baltimore; a photograph of the “Old Defenders of Baltimore in Druid Hill Park” by W. Ashman, circa 1876-1880; and the original manuscript of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key at the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.

Presented by Brown Advisory and Legg Mason