Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trails, Tracks, Tarmac


As I was reviewing some of the statistics for this blog, I noticed that a popular search term entered is "Trails, Tracks, Tarmac." I was a bit curious about this as it is an exhibition Dr. Gaither's works are an integral part of and it was only after scrolling through the blog that I discovered that while I have mentioned the exhibit, I have never really said anything about it. Talk about assuming your audience knows your subject as well as you do! Not a good habit for a museum educator! Let me correct this oversight now.

Trails, Tracks, Tarmac: Lives of African Americans in the History and Culture of Northern Anne Arundel County, 1850 to the Present is an exhibition created by the Northern Arundel Cultural Preservation Society, Inc. in partnership with the Banneker-Douglass Museum. The exhibition covers...well, see the title of the exhibit and I think you will be able to guess. The exhibition opened at BDM in November 2006 and ran through December 2007. Trails, Tracks, Tarmac grew from a grassroots effort to preserve the history and culture of African American towns in Northern Anne Arundel County, Maryland to a rallying call for community involvement in the creation of an exhibition and related programming and later a traveling exhibition.

The exhibition tells the story of Northern Anne Arundel County communities and individuals in two ways - through objects and through documentary story quilts. Using objects such as farm implements, early school house furnishings, manumission papers, pickers checks, and railroad items, visitors are able to learn through viewing objects coming from the homes, schools, businesses, and churches of the communities involved in the exhibition. The second part tells the stories of African Americans in Northern Anne Arundel County through several small (3 ft by 3 ft) quilts and multiple quilts by Dr. Gaither including The Community Quilt. While it was on display at BDM, Dr. Gaither also exhibited her family quilt and her spiritual community quilt.

Trails, Tracks, Tarmac has been traveling around Maryland, opening at three different locations last year. The exhibition is now on display at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis, MD until September 2009.

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