Upcoming Events

October 3, 2015 - 10:00am
In 2013, the National Film Preservation Foundation awarded the Maryland Historical Society a grant to preserve our film, “The Great Hurricane of 1933,” which captured the incredible destruction of Ocean City, Maryland. S. Watts Smyth of St. Louis, Missouri captured this harrowing footage of the 1933 hurricane while on vacation with his family. The Smyths had driven fifteen hours in their brand new Cadillac LaSalle to visit the beach for their annual vacation only to be caught in one of the worst weather events in Maryland history. On August 22, after four days of saturating rain, the hurricane made landfall. Heavy winds picked up and battered the boardwalk, pummeled the city with large waves, and destroyed the town’s railroad bridge and fishing camps. The storm’s greatest and most lasting impact was a 50-foot wide, 8-foot deep inlet that was carved through the barrier island by a continuous four day ebb tide, flowing from the bay out to the ocean. Three entire streets were submerged at the south end of the town. The destruction, in the end, proved a boon for the town. The inlet made Ocean City the state’s only Atlantic port. The resulting commercial and sport fishing boom greatly shaped the character of the Ocean City we know today, as vacationers flocked to the seaside town in large numbers to crab and fish, and dozens of hotels and restaurants sprang up to meet their needs. Colorlab, in Rockville, Maryland, cleaned, duplicated, rehoused, and digitized the film to ensure that this fantastic footage will be available to future generations. The NFPF grant also required a public showing of the amazing film, which inspired this year’s “Maryland on Film.” The MdHS Library will showcase this film and several other historically significant films from our A/V collection on October 3, 2015. Films will include: Kurt Schmoke Flu PSA (ca 1990s), Blueprint for Tomorrow – Baltimore City Life Museums (ca 1996),The Beatles, Baltimore Civic Center (September 13, 1964), Mining the Museum, Lobby Tape (1991), Baltimore News American - The Last TV Commercials (1985), Behind the Scenes at Hutzlers (1938), and Ocean City Hurricane (1933). FREE event, and popcorn will be served!

October 14, 2015 - 6:30pm
Join us we celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Mason-Dixon Survey and the remounting of the Bird Transit. David S. Thaler, PE, LS, F.ASCE, F.NSPE and author of The Mystery of the Transit in the Tower, will recount the process of restoration and remounting of America's most historic scientific instrument, the Bird Transit, which was famously used by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in their iconic survey of the Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania border. The Bird Transit will be on display at the Maryland Historical Society, as well as other documents from the Mason-Dixon Survey.

October 22, 2015 - 6:30pm
Join us as author and landscape historian, Mac Griswold relays her biography of a uniquely American place that has endured through wars great and small, through fortunes won and lost, through histories bright and sinister - and of the family that has lived there since its founding as a New England slave plantation three and a half centuries ago. The Manor is a historical narrative that tells the story of slavery, emancipation, racism, prejudice and silent prejudice in New England through a single piece of land. Based on years of archival and field research, as well as voyages to Africa, the West Indies, and Europe, The Manor is at once an investigation into forgotten lives and a sweeping drama that captures our history in all its richness and suffering.

October 29, 2015 - 5:00pm
The Young Defenders of the Maryland Historical Society are teaming up with the Young Members of the Center Club for a special happy hour and reveal party for the YD February Bash! Join us on October 29 at the Center Club to hear the exclusive on this year’s party theme.

October 31, 2015 - 10:30am
Explore the lives of the people who shaped Maryland history on this special Halloween tour of Green Mount Cemetery and the Maryland Historical Society. Join Mark Letzer, MdHS President and CEO, on a tour of our galleries to learn about the great Marylanders of the past, including Betsy Bonaparte, Enoch Pratt, and John Wilkes Booth. Following lunch, visitors will motorcade to Green Mount Cemetery to visit the graves of these and many other famous Marylanders. A walking tour along the historic paths under fall foliage will highlight the people, legends and lore surrounding one of Baltimore's historic cemeteries.

November 5, 2015 - 6:00pm
To modern eyes, the nineteenth century appears almost obsessed with the stages of grief and mourning as represented through the clothing of the bereaved. Such an attitude reveals more about twenty-first century attitudes and does not yield helpful or productive insights into the past. In fact, our nineteenth century forebears, through sheer necessity, had in a number of ways a healthier understanding and approach to the real pain associated with the death of loved ones and processing the loss afterwards. This lecture will explore the traditions and culture associated with mourning in the nineteenth century confers a greater understanding of their lives and teaches a few lessons to the modern inquirer.

November 7, 2015 - 10:00am
Around Mount Vernon Place, memorials in bronze and marble honor many slave-holders, such as George Washington, John Eager Howard, and Roger B. Taney, yet no statue recognizes the labor of the enslaved people who worked and lived in the neighborhood, for example like Richard Mack. Join us for a tour uncovering the lives of enslaved people and slave-owners through stories ranging from violent politics of the Civil War and the revolutionary shift that occurred during emancipation. Participants will meet at the Maryland Historical Society to tour the galleries, and then enjoy a walking tour around the Mount Vernon neighborhood with Baltimore Heritage.

November 7, 2015 - 8:30pm
Beginning in the 1930s, a mysterious individual began visiting Edgar Allan Poe’s original gravesite at Westminster Hall every year on the author’s birthday, January 19th. Later dubbed the “Poe Toaster,” the man began a tradition in which he would sneak into the cemetery at night while dressed in black clothing, a wide-brimmed black hat, and a white scarf. Upon arriving at Poe’s grave, the toaster would place 3 roses beside it before opening a bottle of cognac. The roses are believed to be in memory of the three individuals buried at the site of the Poe Monument: Poe, Maria Clemm, and Virginia Poe. After toasting Poe with a glass of cognac, the man would then place the bottle next to the grave before disappearing into the night. Sadly, the “Poe Toaster” has not appeared since 2009, but never fear, this long held Baltimore tradition will be reclaimed this fall.

November 14, 2015 - 10:00am
Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War by exploring the rich collections of the Maryland Historical Society and by learning about the experience of accused Confederate sympathizers who were imprisoned at Fort McHenry. Examine the divided loyalties of white and black Baltimoreans, some of whom participated in the Pratt Street Riot of 1861, while later providing material support or joining military units on either side of the conflict. The Maryland Historical Society’s research archives contain numerous original documents and images from the era, which participants can investigate with experts in the Student Research Center. Then visit Fort McHenry to study the political outcomes of Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus, which placed Baltimore under martial law for the duration of the war and resulted in the arrest of many prominent local figures, including Francis Scott Key’s grandson. Explore the Fort grounds with a National Park Service Ranger, to learn more about the prisoners, enjoy a hands-on educational activity and inspect the site’s Civil War-era buildings.