A selection of interviews from the Fishing Club Collection, a project undertaken in 2007. The goal of the project was to further explore and capture the interim history of the Captain Avery Museum property, which is located in Shady Side, a watermen's community on Maryland's West River.
Collection Location: Miss Ethel Library, Captain Avery Museum
Collection overview: The Miss Ethel Library at the Captain Avery Museum has treasured collections of oral histories gathered over the past 27 years. These contain the stories and voices of the Shady Side community of the past, for the benefit of generations to come. The oral histories presented here are a sample taken from the Fishing Club Collection, a project undertaken in 2007. The goal of the project was to further explore and capture the interim history of the Museum property, the original home of Captain Salem Avery, a waterman, who built the home circa 1860. The property was purchased by the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society in 1989 from the Fishing Club, a group of Jewish Washingtonians who had owned it as a weekend get away since 1924.
The project was designed, undertaken and funded by five federal and state agencies and culminated in an exhibit and a book/catalogue, For Fishing, Family, and Fun: Seven Decades of Community Living by the Chesapeake Bay. Thirty-some oral histories were conducted as part of the process, and together with historic photographs and artifacts became the foundation for the exhibit and book. Barry Kessler, the Guest Curator and Project Director for this project, was the interviewer in the oral histories contained here. The people and research behind this effort note in the book that, "The story of this remarkable communal home-away-from-home on the Chesapeake Bay is an American story, a story of city and county, nature and culture, ethnicity and community. It tells of ingenuity and steadfastness, of tradition and adaptation, of belonging and exclusion."
The Shady Side Rural Heritage Society operates a museum complex located at the historic Salem Avery House in Shady Side, a watermen's community on Maryland's West River. The museum's mission is to preserve and share local Chesapeake Bay history and engage the community by providing education and recreational programs and activities. For more information, visit the Captain Avery Museum's website.