Even though the museum has been closed since March, the collections team has made remarkable progress on conserving the film collection of Helen Bentley’s long running television program The Port That Built a City and State. Bentley hosted the weekly program, which ran on WMAR from 1950-1965. Bentley was the nation's first female maritime reporter and later served as a U.S. Congresswoman.
The project to preserve, catalog, and rehouse the extensive film collection is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) through the Museums for America program. This prestigious and competitive award, along with a generous bequest from Bentley’s estate, provides funding for the fragile 16mm acetate films to be preserved in a digital format. Once the project is completed in late 2021, film clips and scripts from the show will be accessible through the museum’s online catalog, helping to ensure their historic integrity and accessibility for generations to come.
“This project will allow us to have better physical and intellectual control over this catalog, arguably among the most important records of maritime history in the nation,” says BMI archivist and project director Matt Shirko. Henninger Media Services in Arlington, Virginia, a firm specializing in the preservation of motion pictures, has been selected by Shirko and his team to handle the digitization work.
Bentley was one of the BMI’s earliest champions, advocating for its inception alongside museum founder Mayor William Donald Schaefer, and was a cherished trustee at the BMI at the time of her death in 2016.
Digital Group Experiences
BMI Launches New Digital Experiences
Since the BMI closed its doors in March in an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19, museum staff members have worked remotely to develop new ways to keep visitors connected with the museum. Reimagining on-site programs and tours, our education team has created three exciting new digital initiatives.
Summer months usually bring bus loads of camp groups and scout troops to the BMI, but this summer we are bringing the museum to them with our Industry Investigator Series. Designed for camp groups, homeschools, families, scouts, seniors, and adult audiences, this program includes a guided virtual tour of the museum hosted over Zoom, and hands-on activities ready to be printed at home. The Industry Investigators program explores BMI galleries through themes related to immigration, changing technology, segregated labor, and more. For younger audiences, our Junior Industry Investigators program invites kids to learn about different jobs in Baltimore’s past and present.
Adult Group Experiences are virtual presentations led by senior museum educator Jack Burkert. Topics include The Story of the Port of Baltimore and A Mill on the Patapsco: The Rise, Operation, and Decline of the Sparrows Point Steel Mill. Program pricing and availability for Industry Investigators and Adult Group Experiences can be found on the museum website.
Throughout the summer, the BMI is offering General Virtual Tours, which provide an opportunity to explore three BMI galleries from the comfort of home. Virtual tours Part I feature our Cannery, Garment, and Print galleries. Virtual tours Part II include our Pharmacy, Port, and Machine/Blacksmith Shop galleries. These tours are free of charge but donations are welcome.
To learn more about BMI Virtual Tours and Programs visit our website at www.thebmi.org
Weekly Farmers’ Market Returns to the BMI Campus
We look forward to welcoming the BMI Farmers’ Market back to its “home” in the BMI waterfront pavilion this Saturday, July 4. The market had started the season at a lot down the street, so that we could accommodate MedStar Health’s COVID-19 testing center, which is now closed.
With the generous support of LifeBridge Health, the market will continue to support local businesses and the community by supplying fresh produce, baked goods, local spirits, and more. For questions on market safety protocols and a list of vendors please click here.
The BMI Farmers Market will be held every Saturday from 9am to 1pm through November.