The steamers of Brown’s Grove

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Steamer Avalon, built in 1888 (from MS0573, Harlan & Hollingsworth Company Plans)

It appears I’m writing a series on excursion steamboats! Who knew? I suppose it’s the working from home, the inability to go anywhere, that makes me long to board a steamer and head for a waterside amusement park!

But I know why I am writing about this one. I want to help keep our president Howard Hoege’s pledge that we would work hard to “awaken in every corner of our communities a sense of a shared maritime heritage that transcends race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomics, and all of the ways in which we sometimes feel different from one another.” So I’ll focus on a rather special excursion steamer, owned and operated by Captain George Brown, that took African Americans of the Baltimore region to Brown’s Grove Amusement Park. Special, because in the 1910s until Brown’s Grove burned in a tragic 1938 fire, it was the only excursion steamboat and amusement park combination entirely owned and operated by African Americans. Brown said it was the only such combination in America.   Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

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Dec 1958, Christmas exhibition in main room

Christmas display in the main exhibition room, December 1958.  At the top of the display, above the Guiding Star nameboard is a decorative piece from SS Deutschland and is very possibly from the main dining room.  The figurehead to the left is a Native American, probably from a British ship of the early 19th century.

View from January of 1937 showing our shipmodel building shop with two of our builders, John Bader (left) and Tilford Crandol (right).  It’s great to see all of the models and half models around the room and on the wall. These men had some amazing talent and built us several beautiful models, many of which are currently on display in our Great Hall of Steam.   Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

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While I don’t often post images that just show one object, I chose to do with this piece as the condition has drastically changed through the years.  This pictures shows the smallest model in our collection, which just happens to be in a flashlight bulb.  The pencil is great for comparison as it shows just how small the piece is.  We still have this in our collection, but the glass of the bulb has filmed over and the little model is barely visible now.

Here we have a group of Seascouts from Baltimore, Maryland in front of our then main entrance in May of 1949.  No doubt they come to tour the museum as we still have groups like this come and visit us from time to time.  If possible, we try to provide them with special behind-the-scenes tours, which are always a lot of fun.   Read more

May Artifact of the Month – Box from the USS Cyclops

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One of the greatest unsolved sinking mysteries of the U.S. Navy is the story of USS Cyclops, a steel twin screw collier that went missing during World War I, rumored to have disappeared within the Bermuda Triangle. Our Artifact of the Month is actually a chest from Cyclops, which was donated to the museum in September 1941. Unfortunately, nothing was found within the sea chest, which was found under the donor’s home in Norfolk, Virginia in 1926.

One of the greatest unsolved sinking mysteries of the U.S. Navy is the story of USS Cyclops, a steel twin screw collier that went missing during World War I, rumored to have disappeared within the Bermuda Triangle. Our Artifact of the Month is actually a chest from Cyclops, which was donated to the museum in September 1941. Unfortunately, nothing was found within the sea chest, which was found under the donor’s home in Norfolk, Virginia in 1926.