St. Michaels Museum will open for its 2017 season on Saturday May 6th. An official opening reception will be held from 2 to 4 PM and will include information of the events plans for the 2017 season. This will be followed by guided tours of the Museum led by the Curator, Kate Fones. There will be an old-time Social with light refreshments and time for neighbors, part time residents and visitors to get together with the Museum Board members. This event is open to everyone and is free of charge.
The opening exhibit will be on George and Betty Seymour, two St. Michaels’ natives who have contributed so much to St. Michaels’ Museum and Talbot County. The Museum and St. Michaels are fortunate to have two such talented and dedicated people in our community. This exhibit will be a chance to learn a great deal about St. Michaels and Talbot County.
George, born in St. Michaels, went to public schools in St. Michaels and Baltimore. He graduated from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) in 1950 and earned a masters degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. During his retirement George became fascinated with Frederick Douglass’s early ties to Talbot County especially his three years in St. Michaels (1833-1836) and his post Civil War visits to St. Michaels and Easton. George researched and created a 2007 Frederick Douglass Walking Tour in St. Michaels under the auspices of the St Michaels Museum. It became a popular fixture for the museum and is still offered by the museum. George went on to start a campaign in 2008 to have the State Highway Rt. 33 to be dedicated to Frederick Douglass. The state officially adopted the dedication in October 2009 at the St. Michaels Museum’s fundraiser at Wye House (Frederick Douglass’ Return to Wye House). At the same time George went on to write the 24 page booklet, A Walk With Frederick Douglass Around St. Michaels that was published in 2009. George paid for the printing and then gave the rights to the booklet and several copies of the booklet to the St. Michaels Museum. The Museum still sells the booklets.
Betty went to St. Michaels’ elementary school in 1938 when it was still on St. Mary’s Square and graduated from St. Michaels High School in 1949. She studied nursing at Easton hospital and graduated there with a nursing degree in 1952. George and Betty married in 1952 after they received their degrees and worked on the western shore for nineteen years before they were able to move back to their hometown, St. Michaels in 1971. They continued their careers here, George as a social worker and Betty as an operating room nurse at Memorial Hospital in Easton.
In 1984 Betty began researching her family history. Betty’s family goes back to the early days of Talbot County. She is a descendent of the Harrison Family, Blades family, and Morris family of St. Michaels, that intermarried with several local families. Betty began volunteering for Talbot County Free Library’s Maryland Room in Easton. During the 1990s she became involved with publishing historical records and became active in the Upper Shore Genealogical Society. In 1999 she became active at the St. Michaels Museum. She has served as a board member and curator. She was a popular walking tour guide for the museum and created a St. Michaels in 1813 walking tour. Recently she has put together a St. Michael’s Civil War walking tour.
During 2017 the existing Frederick Douglass Exhibit “Frederick Douglass – His World 1818-1895” will remain on view in the museum’s hyphen with a few minor changes.
Plans are underway for a summer museum exhibit that will deal with St. Michaels’ Dodson family (privateer William Dodson and his father, Robert A. Dodson, boat builder and packet operator) who were active in defending our town against the British in 1813. We will also highlight the next generation of Dodson’s, two physicians (Dr. Robert A. Dodson and Dr. C. Marion Dodson) who fought to preserve the union during the Civil War, one in the army and the other in the navy. We are hoping to have a civil war reenactment group camping on our Museum grounds sometime this summer to complement this exhibit.
Our walking tours will continue on Saturday mornings at 10AM with alternating themes: “Historic St. Michaels: its People, Places and Happenings” and “Frederick Douglass, a slave, in St. Michaels 1833-1836.” Special tours for groups will continue to be available for groups at $10 per adult. There is a minimum of $50 for small group tours) Groups of more than ten can get special rates. Please call 410-745-0530 for information.