A taste of early Baltimore -- in more ways than one -- is available at the 1840 House, courtesy of the Baltimore City Life Museums' new venture, "Journeys Through Time." Open-hearth cooking plays a part in each of three different programs, which offer a variety of 19th century-style entertainments.
The programs, designed for groups of no more than 16 people, are conducted by 1840 House staff members, who will entertain their guests in period dress.
"An Evening in 1840," open to participants 10 and older, centers around the preparation of a period meal on the open hearth of the living history museum's candle-lit kitchen. Visitors will be given a tour of the authentically furnished house, will help cook a meal using 1840-style implements and then dine in the upstairs parlor. The evening will close with stories and such parlor games as "the king is coming" (a sort of musical chairs without music) or "squeak, piggy, squeak" (a blindman's buff game, in which players are identified by their squeals). The four-hour program is available every evening beginning at 6 p.m.
Participants in "The Overnighter" take part in the same sorts of activity, but instead of returning to their 1990 homes, they get to bed down in the 1840 house -- either in the house's antique-reproduction beds or in their own sleeping bags. In the morning, they partake of a hearty breakfast prepared over the open hearth. This program, open to those age 12 and over, is available daily from 6 p.m to 9 a.m.
Historical games and crafts will give modern kids 5 to 12 a sampling of what "An 1840 Birthday Party" might have been like. The 90-minute program for the birthday child and guests will also include hearth-baked cupcakes. The party is available Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
According to Dale Jones, the director of education for the Baltimore City Life Museums, the "Journeys Through Time" activities were suggested by a teacher in a Howard County "gifted and talented" program. Since playing host to their first group of junior-high-age "overnighters" in 1987, the museum staff has offered such programs occasionally, only recently making them available on a regular basis.
For details, and information about reservations and fees, call the Baltimore City Life Museums, 396-3279.