You Can’t Escape the War of 1812

Grants and historians revive this old conflict

At two centuries distant, the War of 1812 is unlikely to sweep away your sons, sink your boat, burn your barn or your nation’s capital. It will, however, invade your consciousness. It’s inevitable.
With $1.5 million in Star-Spangled Banner bicentennial grants, war memorials will be popping up all over Chesapeake Country. Twenty-two projects in 14 counties (and two statewide) will use the matching grants to enroll the War of 1812 in our memories.
Projects range from A Very Visionary Star-Spangled Sidewalk at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore to conservation of the Maryland Militia cavalry jacket of Washington Countian Sgt. Jacob Huyett, who fought at the Battle of North Point ($5,000).
Grants will create public art in many media, from sidewalks to giant movie screens.
The Visionary Sidewalk ($26,750) on Key Highway will interpret the National Anthem on the pavement beneath your feet. Museum director Rebecca Hoffburger says to expect painted 3-D optical illusions that make history seem as real as the world around you.
In another 3D experience, the defense of Fort McHenry will be recreated in IMAX ($200,000) by the Maryland Academy of Sciences for national distribution.
The First Independent Rifle Company’s defense of Port Deposit, in Charles County, will rise again on 20-by-20-foot mural ($10,500).
Peak-time drivers will hear eight to 10 War of 1812 segments on WYPR, Public Radio Baltimore.
And in the Maryland State House, we’ll see “the enemy nearly all ’round us.” Friends of the Maryland State Archives received $18,000 to paint a staircase with a mural of William Barney watching from the dome as the British fleet sails up the Bay.
Two Patuxent River towns will get new streetscapes plus interpretive signage. The village of Benedict, in Charles County, from which the British launched the invasion of Washington in 1814, gets $225,000 for capital improvements. Bladensburg, site of a battle, gets $15,000 for landscaping and street furniture to complement guided and self-guided touring.
Militia will be equipped: $25,000 to the Historical Society of Kent County to re-create and equip an Eastern Shore Maryland Militia unit from 1812 and provide uniforms and equipment for a 15-person lending library.
Reenactments will recycle history: $13,000 will help Friends of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum create an 1812 Fair and Reenactment for 2013 as well as a costume guild.
Archaeology will be conducted: $9,500 to survey 1812 sites at Nottingham, a naval base for the Chesapeake Flotilla and an encampment for British ground troops invading Washington.
And tours set in motion: In Baltimore, Living Classrooms Foundation will partner with Baltimore Water Taxi to provide regular, frequent water-based touring from Fort McHenry to see what Key saw ($33,706). On land, a quarter of a million dollars will support the operating costs of the Banner Route of the free Charm City Circulator.

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