(Belcamp, Maryland – February 29, 2012) Take an interactive journey through time, from immigrants arriving from across the globe to the innovations that made it possible to cultivate the wild. Harford County Public Library (HCPL) and the Harford County Department of Community Services are pleased to offer a unique cultural opportunity this spring: Journey Stories, a Smithsonian Exhibition opening May 19 and running through July 6 at the Abingdon Library.
Journey Stories examines the intersection between modes of travel and Americans’ desire to feel free to progress and flourish, voyage and explore. Interactive displays allow visitors to experience both harrowing and joyful journeys made by individuals in search of physical, social, and economic freedom. Families can plan a trip across the unknown West; contemplate shipping a loved one across the sea to escape slavery; and marvel at the adventure of automobile travel. Thoughtful recordings allow visitors to listen to the intimate accounts of a diverse array of journeys. Photographs and other images bring to life the advances that made it possible to populate vast territories and tame the west. In short, Journey Stories is a way to experience what makes us Americans – our ability to find a way to freedom.
Accompanying Journey Stories are six additional exhibitions which explore Harford County’s unique history of the Journey Stories themes. The Jarrettsville Library’s Cars: A Harford County Love Affair, a fine art photography showcase on Harford County’s car culture, kicks off the exhibitions on April 13. On May 11th, the County Activity Centers will open exhibitions. Journey Through Harford County’s History at the Chenowith Activities Center in Fallston uses the Aegis and local accounts and historic artifacts to “tell” the story of the County from its early beginnings. Bel Air’s McFaul Activity Center plays host to From Trail to Train: The Building of Bel Air, which considers Bel Air as the apex of how goods and services were received and transported in Harford County. In Havre de Grace, the Activity Center’s exhibition, Money and Migration: Population and the County Economy, explores the distinctive relationship between workforce and society. Women, shoes, chemicals, and technology have brought people in, moved people out, and influenced the culture of Harford County.
Opening with the Smithsonian Exhibition, on May 19 at public libraries, are three additional exhibitions. Highway Hospitality, at the Abingdon Library, looks at a time before “super highways” and interstates, when stopping at quirky motels, eating in sparkling diners, and full-service auto stations with uniformed attendants made the memories! Visitors will see ice cream fit for space, vintage advertising and other artifacts from the lost story of food in the Edgewood Library exhibition Food on the Go. Finally, the difficult but inspiring journeys made by runaway slaves and the people who helped and hindered them are explored in the Bel Air Library’s Fugitives, Accessories, and Catchers, where guests will experience the escape Henry “Box” Brown made; imagine the weight of leg irons and manacles; and hear the tales of those from Harford County both seeking and preventing freedom.
The Journey Stories themes have captured the interest of many celebrated authors who have been invited to share their works:
• Fulbright fellow, PEN Finalist, and five-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Earl Swift will discuss his novel The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, at the Jarrettsville Library at 7:00 pm on April 13 and in conjunction with the Library’s annual Night Out @ The Library. Tickets $30+.
• At the Jarrettsville Library at 6:30pm on May 3, D.E. Johnson, author of the mystery The Detroit Electric Scheme, will tell his story of turning a passion for cars and history into a best-selling mystery series.
• Local Henri Diamant spent a lifetime traveling around the world until he found Harford County and Aberdeen. His story is captured in the book Escape to Africa. He shares it at the McFaul Activity Center in Bel Air on Tuesday, May 15, at 6:00pm.
• Immigration debates have raged on for more than a century and no one is more fascinated with the different schools of thought than Vincent Cannato, author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island. Dr. Cannato opens the Journey Stories Exhibition at the Abingdon Library on Saturday, May 19 at 10:30am, with a community discussion on immigration.
• On Wednesday, May 23 at 6:00pm, the McFaul Activity Center in Bel Air hosts Dr. Rebecca Boehling and her book Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family’s Untold Story. The book is composed of correspondence reflecting a family’s life before, during, and after the Holocaust.
• Wendy McClure, best-selling author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie, will share her equally hilarious and heartbreaking travelogue through the real “Laura World,” at the Bel Air Library on June 2 at 6:30pm.
• Col. Al Worden, the first astronaut to walk in deep space and the record holder as the most isolated human being will talk about his book Falling to Earth and what it is like to to journey to the moon and back. He is appearing at a ticket event on June 14 at the Vandiver Inn in Havre de Grace.
• One man is credited with taming the Wild West and civilizing train travel – Fred Harvey. How he used new modes of travel, good food, and proper young women to create an innovative and progressive empire are explored in Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West–One Meal at a Time. Author Stephen Fried will recount his journey in Fred’s shoes at the McFaul Activities Center on Thursday, June 21 at 6:30pm.
• Historian, journalist, and author Fergus Bordewich explored the Underground Railroad in his 2005 best seller, Bound for Canaan. His newest book, America’s Great Debate, focuses on the nation’s westward expansion, slavery and the Compromise of 1850. He will discuss both at the Bel Air Library on June 23, at 6:30pm.
Other special guest presentations through the months include:
• Poetry and the American Dream with Poet Linda Joy Burke at the Jarrettsville Library on Monday, April 16 at 6:30pm.
• A Female’s Journey Through the World of Food with Executive Chef & Restaurateur Cindy Wolf on Thursday, June 7 at 6:00pm at the Veronica “Roni” Chenowith Activity Center in Fallston.
• Janet Sims-Wood’s Fighting for Freedom: Black Women’s Army Corps During WWII on Tuesday, May 29, at 6:00pm at the Havre de Grace Activity Center
• Actress Mary Ann Jung as Rosie the Riveter on Tuesday, June 12, 6:00pm at the Havre de Grace Activity Center.
Additional programs including a film festival and genealogy series will be offered at Library branches. Please visit www.hcplonline.org for complete details on all the Journey Stories events.
Registration for all programs, events, and speakers is suggested. More information on exhibitions and associated programming is available in the Journey Stories Official Guidebook, available mid-April at all Library branches and key outlets throughout the county. Journey Stories is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Maryland Humanities Council. The Journey Stories exhibition and accompanying programs are offered to the public through a partnership between Harford County Public Library and the Harford County Department of Community Service.
Harford County Public Library operates eleven branches located throughout Harford County, Maryland. The library serves over 160,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of over 4,800,000. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading within the community.
Photo caption: Smithsonian Exhibition, “Journey Stories,” comes to Harford County Public Library May 19th – July 6th.