Oxford Museum Opening Exhibits



PRESS RELEASE  – April 15, 2019


“Water” is the theme that unites two new exhibits when the Oxford Museum opens on Oxford Day immediately following the parade.

Carrying On – Four Centuries on the Oxford Bellevue Ferry” tells the story of one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions and one of its treasures.  Established in 1683, the ferry’s history has been part of the Museum’s permanent exhibit, but this is the first time it has been featured with new artifacts on loan from previous ferry owners, Val & Dave Bittner, current owners Tom & Judy Bixler, and Dale Benson whose father, Capt. Bill Benson, ran the ferry for over 36 years, from 1938 to 1974.  There are still folks who return each year to ride the ferry, remembering their childhood years when Capt. Bill would allow them up in the pilot house.   You may be surprised to discover that long before women’s lib, a woman captained the ferry – in the late 1600’s no less!   This and many other fascinating and surprising stories await the visitor.   The exhibit also includes artifacts loaned by the Talbot County Historical Society, Talbot County Free Library and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum that add to the story of the ferry and its ‘checkered’ history.

First organized in 2008 for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, “A Rising Tide in the Heart of the Chesapeake Bay”  features photographs by David Harp and text by Tom Horton.   Learn the stories of Smith and Holland Islands, and their struggle with erosion and rising waters.  According to William Cronin in his 2005 book, “Disappearing Islands of the Chesapeake Bay”, when the Bay was settled in the 1600’s colonists recorded names of existing islands.  Today over 400 of those islands in Maryland and Virginia no longer exist.   The fate of Smith and Holland mirrors that of many other islands in the Chesapeake, and anticipates the future as climate change creates ever rising sea levels in the Bay and throughout the world.

The water theme will continue later in the summer when the Oxford Museum is host to a Smithsonian Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit “WaterWays”.

For Museum days and hours of operation visit the website at www.oxfordmuseummd.org or call the Museum at 410-226-0191.  The Oxford Museum, A Special Place, A Special Heritage.

Last House on Holland Island
Photo by David Harp