Annapolis And The Chesapeake Bay Celebrates War Of 1812 Bicentennial

| March 8, 2013

Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay offers War of 1812 enthusiasts a host of reasons to visit during Maryland’s Star-Spangled 200 celebration. While no land or sea battles were fought in or near Annapolis, many points of interest here have connections to the War of 1812. The largest of these is the United States Naval Academy.

As part of its ongoing War of 1812 Bicentennial commemoration, the Naval Academy will open a 2,500 square foot exhibition on the War of 1812 in the Hart Room at Mahan Hall on Monday, April 1. The exhibit is part of a Seas, Lakes & Bay: The Naval War of 1812 walking tour that celebrates the War of 1812′s 200th anniversary. The exhibition brings together hundreds of artifacts, historic maritime paintings, and ship models from the Naval Academy Museum and 86 artifacts and pieces of artwork on loan from the collection of William I. Koch. Highlights of the exhibition include the anchor from the USS Constitution and carved wooden figureheads from the USS Chesapeake and the HMS Shannon. The walking tour that kicked off last summer and the new exhibition were made possible through Koch’s generous support.

Designed by Museum Design Associates from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the exhibition demonstrates the significant impact the War of 1812 had on our nation and the development of the United States Navy. The free exhibition runs through November 3, 2013. It is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Individuals who wish to further explore the War of 1812 and its impact on the Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay area are invited to take the self-guided War of 1812 walking tour. Launched in July 2012 and available through October 2014, the tour includes 10 stops, five at the U.S. Naval Academy and five in Annapolis’s Historic District.

Among the tour highlights at the Naval Academy are the U.S. Naval Academy Museum; the Seas, Lakes & Bay exhibition at Mahan Hall; a cannon from the HMS Confiance that surrendered to an American squadron after the Battle of Lake Champlain in 1814; and an HMS Macedonian monument. Stops within the Historic District include the Chase-Lloyd House, where Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key got married; St. John’s College, where Key was educated; St. Anne’s Church, where he attended services; Historic Annapolis Museum; and the Maryland State House. Copies of the tour map are available at the USNA Visitor Center, USNA Museum, Maryland State House, Historic Annapolis Museum at 99 Main Street, and the Visitors Center at 26 West Street.

Individuals who prefer to take in the stops via a guided tour can opt for a new Watermark walking tour. Beginning on April 1, 2013, Watermark guides dressed in 1812 period attire will escort participants to the ten sites on a tour that wraps up at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Seas, Lakes & Bay exhibit. Tours depart from the 26 West Street Visitors Center at 10:00 a.m. April through October on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

A new exhibit at the Maryland State House, The Enemy Nearly all ’round Us, looks at how the War of 1812 affected the lives of free and enslaved Annapolitans. A highlight of the exhibit is a 16′ x 24′ mural of the State House dome in 1814 when it was used as a lookout point for British ships in the Chesapeake Bay. The artwork was commissioned by Friends of the Maryland State Archives and created by renowned Frederick, Maryland artist Richard Schlecht.

Artifacts including letters, newspaper accounts and artwork tell the story of a city on alert. While Annapolitans were never directly attacked during the War of 1812, the threat of battle hung over their lives from February 1813, when the British sailed into the Chesapeake Bay, until the war ended two years later. The exhibit opened on January 14 and will run for the duration of the Maryland legislative session that wraps up in April. The general public is invited to view the exhibit free of charge from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. seven days a week.

For information about these and other 2013 events, visit the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau’s website at

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