Meet the Defenders of Baltimore!

Share Article

‘In Full Glory Reflected’ exhibit on view with new objects September 10, plus a Relaunch of BEARINGS of Baltimore Interactive Map September 8

S. Ann Street, Fells Point, circa 1815, courtesy Imaging Research Center

Everything in this exhibition tells a compelling story.

In September of 1814, the United States was at a point in the War of 1812 when it desperately needed a victory. During the Battle of Baltimore, British bomb vessels fired more than a thousand rockets and exploding mortar shells called "bombs" on Fort McHenry in their attempt to invade the city. Thanks to its great leaders, Baltimore’s Defenders repelled the mighty British. On September 10, 2014, the Maryland Historical Society officially relaunches its critically acclaimed exhibit, ‘In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland in the War of 1812’ with new objects and artifacts. Included in the exhibition is the completed BEARINGS of Baltimore, Circa 1815 installation, a ‘Google Map’ view of Early Baltimore, which will open to the public on September 8.

“We started with 'The Star-Spangled-Banner' manuscript, which is the very first copy written by Francis Scott Key,” says Burt Kummerow, President of the Maryland Historical Society, “But it’s not the only treasure in our 1812 exhibit.”

Anchoring the In Full Glory Reflected exhibit is the BEARINGS of Baltimore Circa 1815 installation. Using the latest 3D technology, UMBC's Imaging Research Center has created an accurate - and truly awe-inspiring - view of Baltimore as it appeared in 1815. Visitors can select from more than a dozen interactive ‘hotspots,’ such as the Indian Queen Tavern and the Hampstead Hill Entrenchments, to see how they looked right after the Battle of Baltimore. Supplementing the installation are documents and paintings from the Maryland Historical Society’s collection. Many of the buildings included in the installation no longer exist today, so visitors can think of it as a personal ‘time machine’ to see Baltimore as it really looked 200 years ago.

There is literally no other installation in the world like BEARINGS of Baltimore. A special reception celebrating the project’s completion and honoring the dozens of UMBC staff and students whose tireless, 2 year-effort resulted in the final installation, will be held at the Maryland Historical Society on Monday, September 8 from 5:30-7:30pm. This event is free for MdHS Members, $15 for non-Members. To register, visit

Other new items in the In Full Glory Reflected exhibit include objects owned by Commodore Joshua Barney, commander of the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla. His commission to Captain in the Flotilla Service of the United States, signed by President James Madison, a leather wallet, traveling trunk and pistol and telescope are on generous loan from descendants of Barney himself. Contents of his wallet and trunk, which date to the period of the War of 1812, will broaden scholarly understanding of Barney's activities between 1812 and 1814 as well as his relationship with his family.

Other new items on view include two period 1812 dresses: A day dress or a textured white cotton and the other of an ivory silk satin. Both are remarkable survivals from the period.

Other Noteworthy Items on Display

The original Manuscript of Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner” will be on view at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine from September 6-14, while the Maryland Historical Society will feature one of the earliest printed broadsides (a one-sided single sheet of paper) of “Defence of Fort McHenry” in its In Full Glory Reflected exhibit.

Early sheet music of the Star Spangled Banner song, complete with a typo, is also on view. Vivid paintings by Battle of Baltimore veteran Thomas Ruckle and the iconic “Bombardment of Ft. McHenry” by Alfred Jacob Miller are also featured in the In Full Glory Reflected exhibit. The humble “Etting Cup” bears the etched signatures of several of the 1812 Defenders. The cup was a treasured part of 1812 veterans’ reunions for many decades in the 19th century.

Also on view are Rembrandt Peale’s stunning portraits of five Defenders: Major General Samuel Smith, Lt. Col. George Armistead, Brigadier General John Stricker, Congressman Isaac McKim, which were commissioned by the City of Baltimore almost immediately after the war ended in 1815.

“Everything in this exhibition tells a compelling story,” said Kummerow. “The paintings by an immigrant house painter captured the Battle of North Point as no one else could. Then there’s the private at Ft. McHenry who had a bomb land at his feet. He took the unexploded bomb home and it’s now its here. We even have a 250 year musket that saw service in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War.”

About the Battle of Baltimore

The 1814 Battle of Baltimore was a turning point in the War of 1812. The port city had strong defenses both in the harbor and on Hampstead Hill (Patterson Park) where a mile of trenches held 100 cannons and 15,000 militia and regulars. The Baltimore business community financed the training and equipping of a volunteer militia. After the Americans repulsed a land invasion and killed British General Robert Ross, they successfully defended Ft. McHenry during a 25 hour bombardment and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the lyrics to what became our National Anthem.

Critical Praise for In Full Glory Reflected

‘Top 10 Exhibitions of the Year,’ -- Washington Post, 2012

About The Maryland Historical Society

Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine." Visit

For a complete list of events at the Maryland Historical Society, visit

For more details, contact Marketing Director Laura Rodini at lrodini(at)mdhs(dot)org or by phone: 410-685-3750 ext. 322.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Laura Rodini
Visit website