Tag: Explore Baltimore Heritage

Sign up for Explore Baltimore Heritage 101—a free four-week class from the Local Preservation School

Over the past few months, we have been working on a new class for people interested in historic preservation who want to learn how to tell the stories behind local buildings and neighborhoods. We’re calling the class Explore Baltimore Heritage 101 and we are excited to announce the four-week schedule for June and July:

  • Research: Tuesday, June 21, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Writing: Tuesday, June 28, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Visuals: Tuesday, July 5, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Outreach: Tuesday, July 12, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

The first three sessions will meet at the Baltimore Free School classroom at 30 W. North Avenue. The final session on outreach will be held in the basement gallery at AIA Baltimore at 11 1/2 W. Chase Street. The class is free of charge and we will provide light refreshments at each session.

Read's Drug Store at the western end of the North Avenue Market, 1929. Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE.12818.
Read’s Drug Store at the western end of the North Avenue Market, 1929. Courtesy Baltimore Museum of Industry, BGE.12818.

Each session is two hours long—enough time for a quick presentation about the topic of the week, discussion and questions, and hands-on projects and activities where participants will practice writing compelling stories, building interactive timelines, and making tour maps. Between each class, we plan to share readings, videos and activities online so you can expect to spend another hour each week to prepare for the next week’s session. The class is led by me—Eli Pousson—and builds on our experience over the past three years of working with contributors for our Explore Baltimore Heritage website and app.

If you want to join the class, please sign up online ASAP; space is limited. We are asking everyone who is interested to plan to attend all four sessions. We know this is a big commitment but we promise to make it worth your time. We have limited space so please register soon.

Eli Pousson and Louis Hughes, Mount Vernon Pride Walking Tour. Photograph by Nicole Stanovsky, 2015 May 31.
Eli Pousson and Louis Hughes, Mount Vernon Pride Walking Tour. Photograph by Nicole Stanovsky, 2015 May 31.

You do not need any previous education or experience with research or historical writing to join the class. If you are interested in Baltimore’s historic buildings and neighborhoods, that is a fine place to start. We do expect you to be comfortable using a web browser (we’ll be using Google Docs, Trello and other free online tools). You should also be comfortable sharing your writing in public.

We have designed this class to teach you how effective communication about historic places can help you to promote preservation and revitalization projects. By participating in this class, you’ll also be helping us learn how to teach these skills to other people across the country. Explore Baltimore Heritage 101 is a pilot for our Local Preservation School project—a new experiment in online education funded by the National Park Service. We also welcome your questions and suggestions—please share your comments below or get in touch.

Explore Baltimore Heritage 101 teaches you how to discover and share stories of historic places

In January 2016, Baltimore Heritage is offering a free course—Explore Baltimore Heritage 101—designed to teach local residents how to research, write and share the stories of historic places in their communities. The course is going to cover four main themes:

  1. Research: How to use digital sources to learn about local history and architecture
  2. Writing: How to write about historic places for local audiences
  3. Visuals: How to combine writing with maps, photos, and graphics
  4. Outreach: How to reach local audiences with online engagement and public programs

Our goal is not to make you an “expert” on Baltimore history. Instead, we want to help you become a better researcher, writer, historian and teacher. Explore Baltimore Heritage 101 is an opportunity to connect with friends and neighbors who share an interest in the stories of Baltimore’s historic buildings and neighborhoods.

Please sign up to hear more about Explore Baltimore Heritage 101—we expect to publish the course schedule and open registration soon!

Over the course of five class sessions, we plan to guide a group of students through the process of sharing a story about a historic place including the opportunity to publish a story on our Explore Baltimore Heritage website and app.

Dr. James Deetz (1977)

We know you and your community have stories to share. Important stories are found everywhere around us—in parks, public art, rowhouses and schools. And good stories about places are really about people. Historian Eric Sandweiss explained it neatly:

“[the history of a city street] means little if it’s not tied to the story of the farmer who sold the land, the developer who bought it from him, the families who campaigned to have it paved, the men who laid the asphalt, or the children who rode their bikes on it.”

By empowering you to connect stories from the past with places found in your neighborhood today, we know we are helping you to build a stronger future for Baltimore. Supporting local residents like you is our central goal for the Local Preservation School—our new experiment in online education funded by the National Park Service. This winter class is our first step in creating free open online educational resources that people across the United States can use to get more involved with saving historic places in their own communities.

Even if you can’t join is for our class this winter, we invite you to subscribe to the Local Preservation School newsletter, follow @localpast on Twitter, share links or comments with the #localpast hashtag, or get in touch with your questions or suggestions.

"The past is not the property of historians; it is a public possession. It belongs to anyone who is aware of it, and it grows by being shared."

P.S. Thanks to everyone who has already completed our course planning survey. The survey is still open for responses so please share your comments and help us put together a great class this winter!

Literary Heritage in Baltimore: Three free programs with H.L. Mencken, Edgar Allen Poe, and more Baltimore authors

Poe House, 1971
Poe House, National Register of Historic Places, 1971

Gertrude Stein learned to smoke cigars at home on Biddle Street. Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald drank himself into a stupor at the Stafford Hotel. Poet Ogden Nash cheered for the Baltimore Colts at Memorial Stadium. Emily Post, Edgar Allan Poe, H.L. Mencken Dorothy Parker, and scores of other nationally-known poets, authors, journalists and writers grew up, worked, wrote and died in Baltimore. Three free programs this fall offer a rich introduction to the city’s literary heritage with an the H.L. Mencken Open House in Union Square, the Poe House open for weekends in October, and an evening of readings from the works of Mencken, Poe and many more Baltimore authors.

We are also excited to announce the launch of our new Literary Heritage in Baltimore tour for Explore Baltimore Heritage. The tour was created in partnership with the University of Baltimore, CityLit, the Maryland Humanities Council and the Maryland State Arts Council with contributions from student volunteers including Ryan Artes, Nathan Dennies, Amelia Grabowski, and Elizabeth Matthews. Don’t forget to download Explore Baltimore Heritage for iPhone or Android or visit explore.baltimoreheritage.org to learn more about how these writers left their mark on Baltimore neighborhoods!

Happy 133rd Birthday, Mr. Mencken!

Sunday, September 8, 2013, 1:00pm to 5:00pm
1524 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Born on September 12, 1880, H. L. Mencken lived in the handsome historic rowhouse at 1524 Hollins Street for nearly all of his life. Join the Friends of the H.L. Mencken House as they celebrate Mencken’s 133rd birthday with their annual open house! The house and garden will be open and light fare will be served. Beer and wine will be available for a modest amount. The highlight of the occasion will be cake (with candles, though not 133 of them) served in his beloved garden. More details from the Friends of the H.L. Mencken House.

“Poe-pen House” Weekends in October

Saturday, October 5, 2013, 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Edgar Allan Poe House, 203 N. Amity Street, Baltimore, MD 21223
Thanks to support from Free Fall Baltimore, Admission to the Poe House will be free every weekend in October from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

Closed since 2012, Baltimore’s famous Poe House re-opens to the public with a “Poe-pen House” on October 5! Join Poe Baltimore for stories and snacks, lore and a chance explore the famous house of the master of the macabre.  The family-friendly event will also delight avid fans of Poe, introduce the house to new visitors, and engage the surrounding community with this jewel in their neighborhood. No advance registration required. The house is small so tours will accommodate visitors on a first-come, first served basis. Email poebaltimore@gmail.com for more information.

An Evening with Dead Baltimore Authors

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 7:30pm to 8:30pm
University of Baltimore Wright Theatre
UB Student Center, 5th Floor, 21 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201

Photograph of H.L. Mencken at 1527 Hollins Street by A. Aubrey Bodine, November 25, 1947.
H.L. Mencken, Maryland Historical Society, BCLM, B737(4)B

Join us for an Evening with Dead Baltimore Authors to hear the words of dead Baltimore authors with a selection of readings excerpted from the works of Edgar Allen Poe, H.L. Mencken, Karl Shapiro, Ogden Nash, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Lizette Woodworth Reese, Upton Sinclair, Emily Post, Munro Leaf, Dashiell Hammett, Walter Lord, and Dorothy Parker. The evening will also feature an introduction to a few of the places these authors wrote, drank, lived and worked featured on our new Literary Heritage in Baltimore tour for Explore Baltimore Heritage.

An Evening with Dead Baltimore Authors is organized in partnership with the University of Baltimore, CityLit, the Maryland Humanities Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. Learn more about additional programs for Literary Arts Week through Free Fall Baltimore. Registration is not required for this free program. For questions or more information contact Jon Schorr at jshorr@ubalt.edu.

Explore Baltimore Heritage is public history in action thanks to BreakingGround and UMBC graduate students

Thanks to a grant from UMBC’s BreakingGround initiative this past fall, Baltimore Heritage enjoyed a unique opportunity to work closely with UMBC Professor Dr. Denise Meringolo and nine UMBC students in a graduate-level public history course. The students worked with us to develop short video documentaries on the stories of Baltimore’s historic landmarks for our new website and smartphone application, Explore Baltimore Heritage. The student videos — produced with support from the UMBC New Media Studio — share images and vignettes from the history of grave-robbing at Davidge Hall, the ignominious demise of Edgar Allen Poe and his burial at the Westminster Burying Ground, and the complicated past of urban renewal at Baltimore’s First Mariner Arena.

When we first started working with Dr. Meringolo and her public history students in spring semester of 2012, we developed a project that allowed students to build on on our existing research and tell new stories about historic places like the Baltimore Bargain House or Hutzler’s Department Store with writing and archival photographs. When Dr. Meringolo offered us the opportunity to continue working with her students into the fall, we settled on an ambitious goal: use the wealth of historic photos from local archives to tell stories with short videos. Fortunately, several of the students from the spring semester collaboration decided to continue with the second course and brought valuable expertise on the history of downtown Baltimore to this new challenge.

It has been exciting observe how the students have gained a new perspective on the role of public history in the often political and messy debates around economic development and preservation in an urban downtown. For Baltimore Heritage, the partnership has greatly extended the capacity of our small two-person non-profit and enabled us to expand the featured buildings on Downtown’s West Side.

Please enjoy these great videos on YouTube, check out Explore Baltimore Heritage online, or download the iPhone or Android application today!

This post originally appeared on the BreakingGround blog.