Step Back In Time

“Oystering On The Chesapeake” Celebrates The Rich History Of Oystering On Its Waters

Step onboard an oyster-harvesting skipjack, the E.C. Collier, and enter the world of the working watermen of the Chesapeake Bay. Eavesdrop on the captain and crew as the captain shouts orders; the crew brings in the dredge, sorts the oysters and talks about the captain behind his back — all at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St Michaels..

This interactive exhibit tells the story of how the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster fishery has shaped the region’s history, culture and landscape known as Oystering on the Chesapeake. After leaving the boat, you can examine oyster-harvesting equipment — from hand tongs to the dredge imported from New England that precipitated the Oyster Wars, a fierce and violent struggle between traditional hand tongers and the new dredgers. The oyster’s journey from the Bay to the table is portrayed in both artifacts and historic photographs of a bygone era. Once so bountiful that the Chesapeake oyster found its way in quantities across the country, the exhibit explains how the oyster fishery affected the culture and fortunes of generations. Today’s harvests are one hundredth of what they were at their height in the late 19th century.

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