On our next round of museum tours, we are sailing away to Rock Hall. Whether you are looking to beat the heat or dodge a rain cloud, these windows into the past are great places to spend an afternoon.
The Rock Hall museum strives to preserve the past to educate people of the present of what life was like on the Eastern Shore throughout history. Stop in for a visit to understand how life has changed over time and to see the innovative technologies once used. The museum is broken down into three main exhibits featuring watermen, decoy carving, and boats and ships that provide in-depth information on the subjects.
It is no surprise that water has shaped life in Rock Hall. Not only has the ebb and flow of the tides molded the shoreline, but the community itself has depended on the waves for more than just the scenery. Rock Hall started out as a shipping community, building its economy on the transportation of seafood and other edible products. These goods were processed in town and then sent out from the harbor to journey around the world.
The next wave of business that the town depended on was that of the watermen. Watermen have been harvesting the bounty of the Bay for decades and as a result many different types of tools have been implemented in these seafaring jobs. You can see varieties of boats from past and present, oyster tongs, and antique items like a cannonball thought to date back to the War of 1812. Today Rock Hall has become a sailing and charter fishing destination, but the aspects of its past remain intact for us to learn from.
Waterfowl hunting was also a main attraction in Rock Hall, and as a result, many famous decoy carvers call this waterfront town home. These crafts of a bygone era demonstrate the skill of the artists who spent hours hand carving wood and painting wooden duck figures. Some of the famous early decoy masters of Rock Hall include August Heinefield, Captain Jesse Urie and Roger Urie. IN the museum you can see a replica of a decoy artists shop, filled with tools and partially carved decoys donated by the Urie family.
It may be hard to imagine, but there was a time when the harbors along our coastal waterways were filled with steam boats. Yes, the same boats once used in the Civil War and by Huckleberry Finn on the Mississippi. This mode of transportation happened to be the most popular way to get around in the 1800s and persisted throughout the century. Now the most commonly seen craft floating in the waves are yachts…what a difference a few centuries make. In the boat and ship portion of the museum, you can see a vast array of models of these boats and many more that have been used in Rock Hall.