Marylanders invited to “Step into History” with interactive display at Rock Hall

This “Step Into History” display featuring a historic lithograph from the Maryland Center for History and Culture is currently in Rock Hall Village.

ROCK HALL — The Maryland Center for History and Culture (MCHC) invites Marylanders to “Step into History” with interactive displays that are traveling across the state.

According to a news release, a brand new Step into History display is now on view at the Village in Rock Hall.

This larger-than-life-size frame allows Marylanders to literally step into history and engage with the past through historic images from MCHC’s museum and library collections. The forced perspective of the display encourages participation and imagination and is a natural photo-taking opportunity.

The display in Rock Hall features “Go see the whale at Tolchester,” a lithograph by R.H. Eichner and Co.

This poster advertises a unique beachside attraction: an opportunity to go inside a whale’s mouth. According to an article in the May 30, 1899 issue of the Baltimore American newspaper, a 75-ton whale, species unidentified, was captured off the coast of Cape Cod on June 5, 1888. The Egyptian Balm Co. in Boston embalmed the whale. When the process was complete, the whale was set to be the star attraction during the opening week of a new season at the Tolchester Beach resort in Kent County.

No evidence exists to prove that the whale actually arrived at Tolchester or was used as advertised in the poster, the release states. But the intent and vision of the event planners is preserved.

Visitors are encouraged to think about their own beach vacations and think critically about the reality of this advertisement, the release states.

Visitors also are encouraged to share their photos on social media using the hashtag #StepIntoHistory.

A list of exploratory questions inside the frame invites critical thinking and dialogue. A QR code links to the website, providing more historical context.

“As the state’s largest museum and library of Maryland history, it is our mission to find creative ways to share and engage people statewide with the unique items in our collection,” said Mark Letzer, president and CEO of the MCHC. “Maryland’s parks and community gathering spaces are unique partners in this effort. As people have increasingly turned to Maryland’s outdoor landscape for safe recreational activities, we are pleased to connect their surroundings with stories from the past.”

The Step into History display is scheduled to remain at the Village in Rock Hall through November. For updates on Step into History, follow MCHC on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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