Maryland Humanities Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Living History Program


Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, Arctic explorer Matthew Henson, and “Pirate Queen” Grace O’Malley come to life with Maryland Humanities’ Chautauqua living history performance series. Actor-scholars portraying these trailblazers will travel to eight counties throughout the state, from July 5 until July 20. Maryland Humanities celebrates the 25th anniversary of the program in Maryland, which launched in 1995 in Garrett County, with the theme Making Waves. In 2019, Chautauqua is part of Maryland Humanities’ Maryland H2O. A two-year initiative, Maryland H2O explores our many and varied relationships with water—which is part of our history, our culture, our future—through multiple programs. Maryland H2O also includes the Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition, Water/Ways; the Smithsonian exhibition H2O Today; One Maryland One Book 2019’s selection, What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha; and engaging programs to spark a statewide discussion about water.

Living history performances by actor-scholars are followed by question-and-answer sessions, which spark spirited conversation and provide educational family fun. Every Chautauqua performance is free and open to the public and begins with live musical and theatrical acts.

Chautauqua performances will take place at: the corner of H & Spruce Streets in Mountain Lake Park; Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels; Montgomery College in Germantown; Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville; Elkton Central Library; Harford Community College in Bel Air; Cecil College in Elkton; and Crofton Community Library.Learn more about Chautauqua at

Chautauqua is supported in part by Old Line Bank, the Citizens of Baltimore County via the Baltimore County Commission on the Arts and Sciences, Karen and Langley Shook, and Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council.

2019 Chautauqua Characters and Performers

Jacques Cousteau (1910–1997) is most famous for his work in oceanography and for his decades-long television series that unlocked the undersea world around us. He was also a French naval officer and resistance spy during WWII, an explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, and best-selling author. Cousteau also co-developed the Aqua-Lung.

Cousteau will be performed by Doug Mishler, an independent scholar who has taught at the University of Nevada and Western Washington University. He is the author of a history of the Ringling Brothers Circus and has consulted on several public television and Chautauqua programs. Since 1995, Mishler has appeared in Maryland Humanities’ Chautauquas as P. T. Barnum, Theodore Roosevelt, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ford, Jefferson Davis, George Wallace, Upton Sinclair, Major General Robert Ross, and General Joseph Pershing. He also portrays Ernie Pyle, Billy Sunday, William Clark, Andrew Carnegie, Edward R. Murrow, Thomas Hart Benton, and Nikita Khrushchev. Mishler has a PhD in American cultural history from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Matthew Henson (1866–1955), an American explorer born in Maryland, accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic. He is best known for having reached the North Pole, and is said to be the first African-American there. In 1944, Henson was awarded the Peary Polar Expedition Medal and received it at the White House by Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. The native Marylander was the son of sharecropper parents who were free people of color before the Civil War

Henson will be portrayed by Keith Henley.  He graduated from South Carolina State College with a major in chemistry and minors in mathematics and biology. Later, he went on to study Theatre Education at Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey. He currently owns and operates J.O.Y. Productions, Queenie’s Homemade Sweets and Catering, and Alpha Designs. In addition, he is the Artistic Director and Choreographer for Folkloric Heritage Culture Arts Company of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Henley began his historic interpretation career with Historic Philadelphia and has since worked for American Historical Theatre and History First Hand and has performed for the Smithsonian Associates Teaching American History program, Historic Germantown, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, as well as local libraries.

Grace O’Malley(1530–1603), was a 16th-century Irish “Pirate Queen,” who commanded ships, men, and the respect of Queen Elizabeth. Called “The Pirate Queen of Ireland,” she commanded the west coast of Ireland and an entire fleet of ships in the 1500s. Although it was rare for a woman to command, Grace was accepted as the undisputed leader of hundreds of Irish and Scottish fighting men. In 1593, O’Malley risked her life to save the lives of her son and half-brother who’d been captured and were scheduled to be executed by the English.

O’Malley will be portrayed by Mary Ann Jung, an award-winning actress who has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, and the Today show and has performed for the Smithsonian as well as for the National Theatre, the National Museum of Medicine, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.  She has been a lead actress and Director of Renaissance History and Shakespearean Language at the Maryland Renaissance Festival for over 25 years. Jung has portrayed Clara Barton, Rosalie Stier Calvert, Julia Child, and Amelia Earhartt past Maryland Humanities’ Chautauquas, and also performs as Mistress Margaret Brent, Sally Ride, Rosie the Riveter, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Virginia Hall, Juliette Gordon Low, and Good Queen Bess.  She has a BA in British History from the University of Maryland.

Tour Dates (Alphabetical by County):

Anne Arundel County
Crofton Community Library

1681 Reidel Road, Crofton, MD 21114
Saturday, July 20, 2:00 p.m.: Grace O’Malley

Baltimore County
Center for the Arts Theatre at Community College of Baltimore County
800 South Rolling Road, Catonsville, MD 21228

Friday, July 12, 7:00 p.m.: Matthew Henson
Saturday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.: Jacques Cousteau
Sunday, July 14, 7:00 p.m.: Grace O’Malley

Cecil County
Elkton Central Library
301 Newark Avenue, Elkton, MD 21921
Saturday, July 13, 6:00 p.m.: Matthew Henson

Elkton Station Performing Arts Hall at Cecil College, Elkton
107 Railroad Avenue, Elkton, MD 21921
Tuesday, July 16, 7:00 p.m.: Grace O’Malley

Charles County
Brad and Linda Gottfried Theater, Fine Arts Center, College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, MD 20646

Tuesday, July 9, 6:45 p.m.: Matthew Henson
Wednesday, July 10, 6:45 p.m.: Jacques Cousteau
Thursday, July 11, 6:45 p.m.: Grace O’Malley

Garrett County
”The Big Tent” Corner of H & Spruce Streets, Mountain Lake Park, MD 21550

Thursday, July 5, 7:00 p.m.: Matthew Henson
Friday, July 6, 7:00 p.m.: Jacques Cousteau

Saturday, July 7, 7:00 p.m.: Grace O’Malley

Harford County
Chesapeake Theater at Harford Community College, in partnership with Harford County Public Library

401 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, MD 21015
Monday, July 15, 7:00 p.m.: Jacques Cousteau

Montgomery County
Globe Hall in the High Technology Building at Montgomery College
20200 Observation Drive, Germantown MD 20876
Wednesday, July 10, 7:00 p.m.: Matthew Henson
Thursday, July 11, 7:00 p.m.: Jacques Cousteau
Friday, July 12, 7:00 p.m.: Grace O’Malley

VISIT Talbot County
*Outdoors by the Steamboat Building at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
213 North Talbot Street, St. Michaels, MD 21663

Wednesday, July 8, 7:00 p.m.: Matthew Henson
Thursday, July 9, 7:00 p.m.: Jacques Cousteau
Friday, July 10, 7:00 p.m.: Grace O’Malle

*All Talbot County performances will be held outdoors. Please bring folding chair. In case of severe weather, program will be held in the Small Boat Shed.

About Maryland Humanities

Maryland Humanities is a statewide nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities. For more information, visit Maryland Humanities is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Maryland, private foundations, corporations, small businesses, and individual donors. Connect with Maryland Humanities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Letters to Editor

  1. suzanna warnick says

    PLease check the dates for Talbot County…. I believe the dates and corresponding days are not correct. Thank you

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