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History & Lore

Jump right in at Calvert Marine Museum

Visit Calvert Marine Museum starting October 11 and you’ll see all the way from the heights of the sky to the sheltering shallows to the dark depths. You’ll see life beneath the surface. You’ll see octopoid special effects that outsmart CGI animation, part of the ordinary antics of 150 species in the greater Chesapeake community.     What you won’t see is how this miracle of 21st century estuarine immersion came to be.

Annapolis Maritime Museum fits big stuff in little package

Like the Little Engine that Could, the Annapolis Maritime Museum has to do everything its bigger counterparts do, just in a smaller package.     Measured by how many people it touches each year, the little museum grows in stature, with 10,000 tourists visiting in a year plus 5,000 locals stopping by for visits and events and 3,000 students coming for education programs.

Bayside History Museum

Museums like the Smithsonians we visit in Washington show us the wonders of the world. Little community museums tell us our own stories excavated from the sands of time.     In North Beach, the Bayside History Museum takes threads of families, activities, and places over the last 130 years and presents them in a wonderful quilt of fun, tradition and culture.     The story spins out of the place it’s rooted.

Unearthing a forgotten past

At Serenity Farm in Benedict, you’ll find 100 acres devoted to Farming 4 Hunger (see this week’s feature story). It’s also a place for farm tours and events, hayrides and petting zoo, shearing sheep and tobacco barns.     Maryland’s history is rooted there, too.     The recently discovered Burial Ground at Serenity Farm unlocks secrets and pieces together from crumbling bones lives lost in the past.

A garden named for this Maryland first lady is a fine place to encounter spring

Spring is here, calling us outdoors.          Sample the season at Helen Avalynne Gibson Tawes Garden, an out-of-the-way treasure hidden in plain sight at Maryland Department of Natural Resources headquarters in the Tawes Building.     The gardens are known to local birders as a hotspot for migrating warblers in April, when waves of Virginia bluebells bloom along the walkways.

In a three-day Maryland Day Celebration, you can loop back 380 years.

This weekend, you can loop 380 years back in time without breaking stride in history’s forward march.         March 24 is the birthday of Maryland’s modern history. That European encounter opened the door to all of us, native inhabitants excepted.     On that early spring day in 1634, voyagers from the ships the Ark and the Dove prayed on a Potomac River island, thanking God for surviving their long voyage, coming to land safely and negotiating a peace accord with the Piscataway Indians.

Donald Sheckells: Stuck on oystering

If oystering has been your life for more than 40 years, what do you do when age catches up with you?     If you’re Donald Sheckells, you’re still working.     The Shady Side waterman no longer braves winter on the water to harvest oysters. But he’s still shucking and selling them.

After generations harvesting wild oysters, Chesapeake watermen are learning to raise them

Where have all the nicknames gone?     Once upon a time you had one — Popeye, Spanky, Hambone — if you were an oysterman working the Bay.     Nowadays, oystermen are mostly gone, along with their nicknames. In Anne Arundel and Calvert counties, only about a dozen commercial oystermen still work.

In hatcheries, science works to jumpstart nature

Restoring oysters and an oyster economy in the Chesapeake starts in hatchery labs, where scientists are filling the gap in hopes nature will take over from there.     The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Hatchery in Cambridge — expanded last year to produce up to two billion spat a year — grows the larvae, nursing the tiny babies as they attach to a hard surface — old oyster shell. Other oyster babies are grown in a smaller state hatchery at Piney Point in St. Mary’s County.

It wasn’t so long ago that boating shifted from a way to earn a ­living to a sport and pastime

With sailing the rage all over the Chesapeake, waterfront communities organized sailing clubs, fleets and regattas for sport and competition.     The Annapolis Yacht Club — in our times embarking on a $10 million expansion — reorganized in the late 1930s, after World War I and the Great Depression nearly put the venerable club out of business. The club was founded in 1886 and thrived in the first decade of the new century with races and regattas for small sailboats, canoes and shells.