Historical Society reopens doors with homecoming party

Sunday event celebrates new and old exhibits


November 13, 2003|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Historical Society has long been home to many of our state's most treasured historical artifacts and documents. With a growing collection of more than 6 million objects, it's no wonder the museum needed to do some expanding.

Having closed its doors five months ago, the museum is reopening Sunday, with expanded and renovated facilities, new gallery spaces and new exhibits.

The campus now will cover more than 230,000 square feet, taking over more than a city block.

The expansion includes the acquisition of three buildings, creating the new Zabelle S. and E. Read Beard Jr. Pavilion, a public entrance and central reception area, and the Museum and Carey Center for Maryland Life, a three-story complex that holds exhibitions and programs.

Renovations have been made to the H. Furlong Baldwin Library, with the main reading room being restored to its original 1919 appearance, along with new lighting, wireless computers and more seating.

The Maryland Historical Society Shop and Bookstore have been renovated, as well.

In celebration of the museum's grand reopening, a "Homecoming Party" takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Festivities will orient visitors of all ages to the rejuvenated museum.

"It's an exciting space," says Robin McDonnell, associate director of public relations at the museum. "There will be so much going on. There are brand-new exhibits and opportunities for individual tours and group tours. And curators will be on hand."

The Sunday celebration includes performances by the Eubie Blake Legacy Band and the Marching Ravens Pep Band. Ginger and David Hildebrand will perform their musical show, History Sings for Freedom.

Also, living-history re-enactors will portray characters from Maryland's past, and Orioles and Ravens mascots will entertain children.

Visitors can get hands-on by creating a Declaration of Rights mural or creating a protest button. And those who think they know their Maryland history can test themselves at the Maryland History Game Show.

Visitors also can take guided tours or self-guided tours of the new facilities, expanded library and the new permanent exhibits Looking for Liberty: An Overview of Maryland History and Maryland Through the Artist's Eye.

The Maryland Historical Society's "Homecoming Party" runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the museum, 201 W. Monument St. Free admission. After Sunday, hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. Regular admission is $4-$8; free for ages under 3 and members. Call 410-685-3750, Ext. 321.

For more family events, see Page 46.

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