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2015 Annual Meeting

Bruce Grove as Jacob GibsonCome join us at this year Annual Meeting of the St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square. Featured will be a repeat the hilarious monologue  “Can’t You Take Joke?” by Carlton Spitzer first presented in 2013 as part of the Profiles in Courage Program. This re-enactment will feature Bruce Grove as Jacob Gibson, a St. Michaels landowner who plays a joke on the local people. His “Joke” is to stage a mock assault on St. Michaels down Broad Creek at a tine when the town was preparing for a real battle with the British during August 1813. Town resident were not amused and Gibson attempts to explain and tamp down their anger. Great performance that is not to be missed.

The meeting is set from 2 to 4 p.m. at the St Michaels Library on Fremont St. It will also provide an overview of 2014 activities and a preview of what will be coming in 2015. Officers for 2015 will be elected.

Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome. Bring a friend.

For further information email or call Lynn Freeburger: lsfrebgr@bellatlantic.net or 410 745-4332.

St Michaels Museum Celebrates 50th Anniversary

St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square will observe its 50th Anniversary with a celebration on Sunday, October 26 from 3 to 5 pm on the Museum grounds. There will be an exhibit on the history of the museum with photos and documents. Former officers, board members, members, and the public are invited. There will be presentations and discussions of the early days of the Museum. Light refreshments will be served 

Sewell House BeforeSt. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square (Originally St. Mary’s Square Museum) was established in 1964 by the Town of St. Michaels. Using funds from the 1963 sesquicentennial celebration of the Battle of St. Michaels the Town established the Museum on the old St. Michaels High School site in order to preserve the Sewell House which was an historically important house falling into disrepair on Mill St. The house was moved to St. Mary’s Square on May 18, 1964 and restored. In 1968 it was joined by the Teetotum Building, an historic commercial building moved from Willow Street. Then in 2003 the Chaney House, the home of three free African American brothers, was moved from Fremont St.

Sewell House Moving

The Museum began when Mr. and Mrs. Norman M. Shannahan, Jr. gave the Sewell House to the newly formed St. Mary’s Square Committee. This committee formed into St. Mary’s Museum at St. Mary’s Square. The Sewell House, ca. 1865, was the home of a local waterman Jeremiah Sewell and his family. The house is furnished in period pieces reflecting life of a typical working family at that time.

Built in 1860 as a commercial structure, the Teetotem Building got its name because of its roof’s resemblance to a toy top of the period. Originally located on Willow St, the building served variously as a magistrate’s office, a town jail, a saddle shop, a mortuary, a bank and a barber shop. It was last used as the barber shop of Gene Harrison. Today the building displays highlights of various aspects of St Michaels’ history in the 19th century including artists, writers and commercial life along with a section on Frederick Douglass and a diorama of St. Michaels during the Battle on August 10, 1813.

The latest project, the Chaney House was moved to the Museum site in 2003. It was built by three free African American brothers about 1850. The two room house is typical of its genre and one of few remaining today. After the brothers were able to buy his freedom from slavery their father came to live with them.

Over the years the Museum has been the primary conserver and repository for local history and artifacts from our unique waterfront village. Additionally, it has been involved in many other activities and projects. St. Michaels Recipes, first edition 1966, is still available in its15th edition, (2005). An expanded edition (1971) of “St. Michaels: The Town that Fooled the British”, was written by Gilbert Byron, with illustrations by John Moll. It remains a Town classic. For many local residents the Museum is primarily known for sponsoring the traditional small town 4th of July celebration which in recent years has included a popular children’s parade.

Walking Tour CoverSt. Michaels Museum’s flag was designed by an early museum curator, Architect Ian C. MacCallun. The design was so popular that it later became the flag for the Town of St. Michaels. The flag can still be seen flying proudly from many homes and businesses in the Historic District, especially on weekends. It is often one of the first acquisitions by residents and weekenders when they move to the Historic District.

The Museum has long recognized that it is not just the collected artifacts that portray the history of St. Michaels but also the entire Historic District, its buildings and the stories behind those structures. First published in the late 1960s, “A Walking Tour of St. Michaels” gives a map of the Historic District with detailed information on many of the buildings that are identified in Town with numbered plaques. This map has been updated several times, most recently in 2014. In 2007 George Seymour designed a docent guided walking tour, “Frederick Douglass, a slave, in St. Michaels, 1833-36”, and he followed with a self guided tour booklet in 2009. The docent guided walking tours were expanded with the addition of “The Historic St. Michaels Waterfront” in 2008. Both tours are currently offered on a revolving basis on Saturday mornings at 10 am. (Click the image for a larger view.)

Members, residents and visitors are invited to come on Sunday, October 26 at 3 pm to learn more about the history of St. Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square. The event is free and open to everyone.

2014 - New Special Exhibit at St Michaels Museum

“The Hambleton’s of Martingham and Perry Cabin”

Portrait of   Samuel Hambleton, 1806 done by artist Charles Fevret de Saint-Memin 1770 - 1852

St Michaels Museum at St. Mary’s Square will open its 2014 Season with a special exhibit: “The Hambleton’s of Martingham and Perry Cabin.” It features several generations of Talbot County’s Hambleton family, from the first Hambleton, William, who arrived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the mid-17th century. William purchased 200 acres of Martingham in 1659. This was the family seat then and throughout the 18th century. The property remained in the family until 1945. The Perry Cabin property is linked to the family’s most famous member, Samuel Hambleton (1777-1851), first Purser of the US Navy and a hero of the Battle of Lake Erie (September 10, 1813). Samuel purchased 175.5 acre tract in 1813. It soon became his home along with his younger brother John Needles and his two younger sisters, Lydia and Louisa.

The exhibit will display numerous photographs of Martingham, Perry Cabin and 19th century members of the Hambleton family.  We are fortunate to exhibit a ca. 1825 oil portrait of Samuel Hambleton and a copy of a 1813 letter Samuel wrote to his mother, Nancy Hambleton after the Battle of Lake Erie. The impact of Samuel, his brother John Needles and his two sisters will be covered. The family connection to Frederick Douglass during Frederick’s residence in St. Michaels and outlying farms during 1833 – 1836 will be presented.

The Museum’s 2014 programs will run from May through October with hours: Fridays 1-4 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for youth (7-17). For information visit our website at stmichaelsmuseum.org or email stmichaelsmuseum@atlanticbb.net.

Other 2014 Activities

Docent Led Walking Tours Learn about your town and treat your visitors to one of our docent led walking tours on: 1) “Historic St. Michaels: Its People, Places and Happenings” or 2) the life of young Frederick Douglass as a slave in St Michaels and Talbot County. Tours are given by appointment for groups of 5 or more.

Volunteer Activities Become a volunteer and help with the variety of activities that are critical to the Museum. Meet new friends and participate in educational and social activities throughout the season.