The lobby of the Abingdon Library was filled with spectators as the ribbon was cut to officially open the Journey Stories exhibition. Present to announce the opening was Library Director, Mary Hastler; Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service Director, Frederica Adelman; and Maryland Humanities Council Director, Phoebe Stein-Davis.
Following the ribbon cutting, Vincent Cannato, author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island, held a community conversation with over 50 attendees. Moderated by Fred Guy, Director of the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics at the University of Baltimore, the hour long discussion was filled with questions and comments from the audience.
“It was so interesting to hear Mr. Cannato speak about Ellis Island and what immigrants experienced when they came through there,” commented Linda VanDeusen. “My brother has been researching our family tree and we found out that our grandfather came through Ellis Island in 1910 from Italy as did several of his 9 siblings!”
Additional authors are speaking as part of the Journey Stories project. They include Wendy McClure on June 2 at the Bel Air Library. Ms. McClure rediscovers the series of books that had most enamored her as a child–Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie and is thrust back into “Laura World” headfirst. What follows is The Wilder Life, her equally hilarious and heartbreaking travelogue through the real “Laura World,” where she must reconcile the sometimes ugly truth of pioneer life and the beauty of her own childhood memories.
You can also get the opportunity to meet an astronaut at the Vandiver Inn on June 14th. As command module pilot for the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971, Col. Al Worden flew on what is widely regarded as the greatest exploration mission that humans have ever attempted. He spent six days orbiting the moon, including three days completely alone, the most isolated human in existence. During the return from the moon to earth he also conducted the first deep space walk, becoming the first human ever to see both the entire earth and moon simply by turning his head. The Apollo 15 flight capped an already-impressive career as an astronaut, including important work on the pioneering Apollo 9 and Apollo 12 missions, as well as the perilous flight of Apollo 13. It’s an unprecedentedly candid account of what it was like to be an Apollo astronaut, with all its glory but also its pitfalls. Hear his exhilarating account of what it is like to journey to the moon and back as he discusses his book Falling To Earth. This event is a fundraiser for the library and tickets can be purchased by calling 410 273 5600 or going to the library website at HCPLonline.org.
Lastly, the library will be hosting an evening with Fergus Bordewich on June 23rd at the Bel Air Library. Historian, journalist, and author Mr. Bordewich explored the Underground Railroad in his 2005 bestseller, Bound for Canaan. His newest book, America’s Great Debate, focuses on the nation’s westward expansion, slavery, and the Compromise of 1850. Examine a gallery of extraordinary men who fought to shape the future course of the Union amidst huge ideological obstacles.
The Journey Stories exhibitions can be found throughout the county at Library Branches and Activity Centers and will be open through July 6. They include:
SMITHSONIAN EXHIBITION Journey Stories
The United States was populated through immigration, migration, and transportation, but it was the dreams of people to create a better life that made it a Nation. Enjoy historic photos and artifacts, along with the words of the people involved that tell Journey Stories, the story of the development and evolution of our need as Americans to move and expand – to journey – both physically and psychologically. Abingdon Library
Before the building of “super highways” and interstates, it was “getting there” that made the memories! Explore Harford’s Rt. 40 of old – quirky motels, sparkling diners, and full-service auto stations through postcards and advertising, travel artifacts, and vignettes of vacations past. Abingdon Library
Food On The Go!
Because we journey, we eat… and eat well! Posters and display cases throughout the Library allow visitors to explore how human travel has made food more than sustenance. See ice cream fit for space, vintage advertising and other artifacts from the lost story of food! Edgewood Library
Iron, Tin and Paper: Canning in Harford County
The canning industry was hot in Harford County. Rail lines provided transportation to new markets and the farmers provided the wonderful product. This is a display of the art of canning labels, the variety of canneries, and railroad items that made it all possible. Aberdeen Library
From Trail to Train: The Building of Bel Air
From the early horse trails to the Ma and Pa Railroad, Bel Air has been the apex of how goods and services were received and traveled in Harford County. McFaul Activity Center
Fugitives, Accessories, and Catchers: The Underground Railroad in Harford County
The journey to freedom was fraught with obstacles as vast as the Susquehanna River and as personal as the nosey neighbor. Learn the stories of the fugitives, accessories, and catchers through large panels which tell each group’s tale; experience the escape Henry “Box” Brown made; imagine the weight of the leg irons and manacles; read and hear the tales of those in Harford County both seeking and preventing freedom. Bel Air Library
Journey through Harford History
The Story of Harford County from its early beginnings to the technology leader it is becoming today. Explore major events through the pages of The Aegis and consider personal accounts from the individuals who have shaped the County through time.
Veronica “Roni” Chenowith Activity Center
Money and Migration: Population and the County Economy
Changing economies, innovations, and global factors have influenced the business of Harford County and its populations. Women at work, the rise of the techopolis and factory successes and failures have brought people in and out of the County. Discover the partnership between the people and business. Havre de Grace Activity Center
Journey Stories is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Maryland Humanities Council and is presented in Harford County by Harford County Public Library and Harford County Department of Community Services. For more information please visit HCPLonline.org/journey or pick up the Official Guidebook at any library branch, activity center and key retail outlets in Harford County.
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 #1: Journey Stories Ribbon Cutting. Pictured from left to right: Dr. Fred Guy, Director, Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics at University of Baltimore; Lisa Mittman, Branch Manager, Abingdon Library; Jean Wortman, Program Officer, Maryland Humanities Council; Amber Shrodes, Director, Harford County Public Library Foundation; Beth Hendrix, Director, Harford County Department of Community Services; Dr. Phoebe Stein-Davis, Executive Director, Maryland Humanities Council; Mary Hastler, Director, Harford County Public Library; Frederica Adelman, Director of Exhibitions, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions Service; Bethany Hacker, Community Relations Specialist, Harford County Public Library; Linda VanDeusen, Secretary, Harford County Public Library Foundation; Cynthia Hergenhahn, President, Abingdon Friends of Harford County Public Library; Dr. Vincent Cannato, author of American Passage and Associate Professor, University of MA-Boston; Janine Lis, Marketing Manager, Harford County Public Library.
Photo caption #2: Vincent Cannato speaks to a crowd of over 50 at the Abingdon Library on May 19th during a community conversation about Ellis Island.