Museum consultant shares private collection of black Americana

Neighbors

January 18, 1999|By Jeff Holland | Jeff Holland,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

We have many African-American heroes to brag about in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Frederick Douglass, Benjamin Banneker and Thurgood Marshall are the best-known, but the Barge House Museum in Eastport wants to help bring some of our everyday heroes to light.

That's why it's invited Philip Merrill to speak at Eastport Elementary School at 7 p.m. Feb. 16. Merrill, a nationally renowned museum consultant and owner of Nanny Jack & Co. in Baltimore, travels with the Antiques Road Show television series on PBS.

He describes himself as a "36-year-old African-American collector with as many as 20,000 pieces of Black Americana." His collection includes everything from letters written by Booker T. Washington to family photographs and Aunt Jemima knickknacks.

"Some of these items are controversial," Merrill admits, "but when you can touch slave shackles or a [Ku Klux Klan] outfit, it inspires you to ask questions in a racially healing environment."

Merrill will show that everyday artifacts lend themselves to family research. "Too many people throw away our history," he says, noting that he's dug through trash to recover photographs and other discarded artifacts.

Peg Wallace, director of the Barge House Museum, hopes Merrill will help launch a community-wide effort to collect memorabilia and oral histories.

"We want the whole neighborhood to help us with research for an upcoming exhibit at the museum," she says. "We want to focus on African-American families and their collective contribution to Eastport's unique culture and history."

For information, call 410- 268-1802.

Picture this: Annapolis

On the other side of the harbor, Lynn Manwaring of the Historic Annapolis Foundation is working on an exhibit at the Brice House, 42 East St., Annapolis. The show, "Annapolis Adventure: Then & Now, a Photographic Essay," will feature the work of Annapolis photographer M. E. Warren.

Warren will deliver a lecture as part of the exhibit's opening from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 12. The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 13 and from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 14. There will be an admission fee. For information, call 410- 626-1030.

Lynn says to watch for a new organization boosting preservation in the neighborhood: Associates of Historic Annapolis Foundation. The group will result from merging the Friends of HAF with the membership program.

Celebrate 350

We got the date wrong last week on the Celebrate 350 lecture series at Maryland Hall, sponsored by the Cultural Heritage Alliance of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. The first program takes place Jan. 28 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and covers the area's first settlement in 1649. County archaeologist Al Luckenbach and 17th-century military re-enactors will help bring history alive. The Chesapeake Children's Museum will provide child care and activities for a nominal fee. The lectures run every Thursday evening until March 18; admission will be $3.50. For information, call 410-269-1737, extension 3.

Fat Tuesday festivities

Carol Treiber invites you to dust off the old tux or dig up a creative costume and "Let the good times roll!" As executive director of the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, she will throw the second annual Mardi Gras Ball Feb. 6 at the Loews Annapolis Hotel.

The gala will include cocktails, Cajun and Creole cuisine, and dancing until midnight to the New Orleans tunes of the New Legacy Jazz Band.

Proceeds will benefit county arts groups and the Cultural Arts Foundation's Arts-in-Education programs in county schools.

For ticket information, call 410-222-7949 or e-mail artsfdn@aol.com.

Wetland outing

Here's a sure cure for cabin fever: Take a child to Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian at 10: 30 a.m. Saturday. You can snuggle up beside a crackling fire inside the rustic Wetlands Center and slurp hot chocolate while listening to a reading of "Owl Moon."

The one-hour program will include a craft activity, and you can stay for a stroll along miles of wooded nature trails, watching for wild fowl wintering on the Patuxent River. Reservations are required. Call 410-741-9330 for information and directions.

Many more events are listed in the new Celebrate 350 calendar of events. You can pick up a copy at your local library, or at the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Visitors Center, 26 West St., Annapolis. Call 410-280-0445.

Pub Date: 1/18/99

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