Writers LIVE! Alec MacGillis, Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America
Join the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Baltimore Museum of Industry for an evening with Baltimore-based journalist Alec MacGillis discussing his new book, Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America.
You and your group will enjoy having the museum galleries and exhibits to yourselves for a full 90 minutes to self-tour and explore in a safe and socially distanced manner. Book your experience today and enjoy:
Access for your group of up to 10 family members/friends
10% discount in the museum gift shop
Free onsite parking for the duration of your visit
Film colorist Clinton Simmons works on the Helen Bentley film collection.
"Dock-umenting" and Digitizing the Helen Bentley Film Collection
The BMI’s archives team is nearing the end of a multi-year effort to preserve films from Helen Delich Bentley’s long running television program, The Port That Built a City and State. Bentley hosted the weekly program on Baltimore’s WMAR TV from 1950-1965 that would take Marylanders behind the scenes, sharing the experiences of the hard working people that kept Baltimore’s Port running, and the needs and issues of the day.
In addition to being the nation's first female maritime reporter, Bentley served as a U.S. Congresswoman representing Maryland, and was a devoted member of the museum’s board of trustees at the time of her death in 2016.
BMI archivist and project director Matt Shirko and assistant archivist Maggi Marzolf have been working closely with Henninger Media Services, a firm specializing in the preservation of motion pictures, on this project since the fall of 2019.
Clinton Simmons, Jr., a film colorist at Henninger, walked us through the digitization process. Every other month roughly fifty 16mm films are dropped off to Henninger where each film is inspected carefully. While most of the films are in decent condition, some were unsalvageable due to deterioration or extreme shrinkage. For the films that are in good condition, Simmons loads them into their Lasergraphics Scanstation and checks to make sure the coloring is consistent throughout. He also confirms the film isn’t backwards, looking for clues such as license plates, signage, steering wheels in vehicles, and even handkerchief pockets on suit jackets, which are typically on the left side. After making sure the film is in focus, it can finally be digitized.
While the Henninger team continues to digitize the films, the BMI archives staff works on cataloging and digitizing dozens of scripts, publicity photos, and production notes that accompany the film reels. The newly digitized footage will be available to researchers and the public this fall through the BMI’s online catalog.
The project to digitize and catalog more than 900 reels of historic footage from the series is supported by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) through the Museums for America program.
BMI members reading the draft text for the Henry G. Parks panel.
Exhibits at the BMI have historically focused on Industry--with a big “I”--and less on the workers who helped make Baltimore the industrial powerhouse it became. We’re now embarking on an initiative to add more stories of workers, especially women and people of color. This project will make our galleries more inclusive, welcoming, and informative as we strive to tell the whole story of Baltimore’s industrial legacy.
Over the last two years, our staff conducted research, drafted text, and identified photos to add to the galleries that focus on the print, food processing, and machining industries. We secured a grant from the Baltimore National Heritage Area and a handful of private donors to help underwrite the design and production of new exhibit panels.
BMI staff helped test labels and gather feedback from members.
The additional narratives include a deeper look at the AFRO, the nation’s longest-running family-run Black newspaper, the legacy of Henry G. Parks, whose sausage company became the first Black-owned business in the nation to offer publicly traded stock, and the changing faces of workers in Maryland’s meat processing industry.
In May, we welcomed 25 members to the museum to weigh in on our work by evaluating the text we’d written, asking questions, and providing suggestions. By testing these new exhibit labels with visitors, we were able to better understand any gaps in the stories and determine where clarification or additional details might be helpful. We’re now making edits to the text, and by early August we will have installed these new panels in the museum, enhancing the visitor experience and providing a more complete look at Baltimore’s rich and diverse industrial history.
Get Up Close and Industrial With the Largest Baltimore-Built Object That Moves: S.S. John W. Brown
Join us for a free online program in partnership with Project Liberty Ship on Thursday, Jun 24 at 7pm that will take viewers behind the scenes and under the decks of one of Baltimore’s most beloved and historically significant artifacts, the S.S. John W. Brown.
One of only two surviving fully operational Liberty ships preserved in the United States, the S.S. John W. Brown is the product of an emergency shipbuilding program in World War II that resulted in the construction of more than 2,700 Liberty ships, a class of cargo freighters that could be built quickly at low cost.
The one-hour program features a brief history of Baltimore’s shipyards, an overview of the 35,000 ship plans in the BMI collection, and volunteers from the John W. Brown who will share the history of the Brown’s service.
This online program is free to attend. Advanced registration is required here.
The BMI will not host a July 4th celebration this year.
Baltimore City has cancelled the 2021 fireworks display, so the BMI will not be hosting a July 4th celebration this year. The BMI wishes you and your families all the best for Independence day!
We are able to offer many of our programs for free thanks to the generous support of our members and donors. Please consider making a donation or joining the BMI so we can continue doing so.