Centre Street Mural Project
In August 2021, the Maryland Center for History and Culture posted a public Request for Proposals to engage a local artist to create and execute work to be installed over eight exterior panels located on the former Greyhound bus garage. The building is located on MCHC’s Baltimore campus along Centre Street, facing the Mount Vernon Marketplace.
Known as the Maryland Historical Society for 176 years, MCHC underwent a rebrand and name change in September 2020. The purpose of the Centre Street mural project is twofold: to beautify a section of MCHC’s campus, and to increase the organization’s visibility in the neighborhood. The mural provides a visual representation of the state’s rich history and culture. It is inspired by MCHC’s collections and the people of Maryland, and highlights the organization’s core values: Community, Authenticity, Dialogue, and Discovery.
About the Artist
Public art is a piece of your soul that everyone who passes by gets to see. I like to use the combination of scale, dynamic composition, and thrilling colors to create an image that you can’t help but be arrested by as you pass on your way to work, or your home, or en route to a fun night out. I try to create imagery that visitors to the neighborhood will remember as a landmark, and that residents will think of as part of their community. I love nothing more than to help a community realize a piece of art that represents them, and I hope to continue to do murals for as long as my body will allow me to.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Bridget Cimino has created art her entire life. After earning a BFA from The Maryland Institute College of Art, she worked doing decorative painting and restoration on many beautiful buildings locally and all over the country, including The U.S Capitol building, Clifton Mansion, and The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion, among many others. She has completed numerous original murals all over Baltimore for neighborhood associations and businesses. She currently lives in Baltimore and continues to make public art at every opportunity.
panel 1: The maryland Center for history and Culture
The Maryland Historical Society introduced its new identity as the Maryland Center for History and Culture in September 2020. Having just celebrated its 175th anniversary, the historical society’s leadership elected to rebrand the organization for the future as an inclusive “center.” The Maryland Center for History and Culture welcomes people from all walks of life to connect with the history, art, and culture of Maryland, gain new perspectives on the past, build community, explore identity, and broaden their understanding of the world.
Learn more about MCHC, our mission, vision, and core values here.
panel 2: native americans in maryland
On the right, carved figures in a diorama envision an indigenous peoples carving out a canoe and a village, modeled on research about Algonquian villages. On the left, modern representatives of Native Americans currently living in Baltimore pose in their regalia. Organizations, such as the Baltimore American Indian Center, are working to serve Native communities in Maryland and preserve the culture and heritage of those communities.
Sources: Diorama, Daniel I. Hadley and Associates, in partnership with regional historians and cultural organizations, mixed media, 1972. Maryland Center for History and Culture.
Members of the Intertribal Baltimore Indian Center: Louis Campbell (Lumbee), Celest Swann (Powhatan), and E. Keith Coleston (Lumbee), photograph by Edwin Remsberg, Maryland Traditions, 2021.
Land acknowledgment: The land on which these murals stand is the ancestral land of the Piscataway Nation. The Piscataway Nation’s territory stretched from present-day Charles County to Baltimore County and from the Chesapeake Bay to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
panel 3: MARYLAND IN SPACE
Born in 1731, Benjamin Banneker was a free African American tobacco farmer, and one of the greatest scientific and mathematical minds of his era, remarkable as he was largely self-taught. His astronomical journal in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library collection at the Maryland Center for History and Culture is an incredible survival that contains graphic projections for solar and lunar eclipses, and practical descriptions of how he obtained his data about the planets, the movement of stars, and the different quarters of the moon.
On the right is a more modern example of the quest for celestial knowledge, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. This high-powered instrument has allowed us to see even farther into space and is operated by The Goddard Space Flight Center. Its data is analyzed by the James Webb Space Telescope, both located in Maryland.
Image Sources: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia almanac, for the year of our Lord 1795, Being the Third after Leap-Year, by Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806), 1794. Maryland Center for History and Culture, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Rare MAY 42 .B21 1795F
“This Week in NASA History: Hubble Space Telescope Deployed- April 25, 1990,” edited by Lee Mohon, NASA, April 25, 2017.
panel 4: Maryland in fashion
The Barbara P. Katz Fashion Archives at MCHC holds thousands of garments spanning four centuries of history and culture. From high-end couture to rare extant utilitarian clothing, to an incredibly rich collection of accessories, this clothing owned and worn by Marylanders represents a trove of history. It holds the power not only to engage contemporary audiences but the artistry and craftsmanship extraordinary enough to inspire contemporary designers. Maryland still has a thriving fashion scene with many designers, makers, and curated-vintage houses, all of which joined together for a once-in-a-lifetime fashion show at MCHC in 2019.
Image Sources (from left to right): Banyan, unknown maker, silk, worn by Solomon Etting (1764–1847), 1780s. Maryland Center for History and Culture, The Eleanor S. Cohen Collection, 1918.6.58.
Dress, Hubert de Givenchy (1927–2018), silk organza with embroidered monkeys, worn by Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor (1896–1986), 1954. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Gift of Her Grace Duchess of Windsor, through Mrs. Clarence W. Miles, 1961.85.1
World War II American Red Cross Motor Service uniform, unknown maker, rayon and cotton with a leather belt, worn by Virginia Newcomer (1900–1982),1942–44. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Gift of Mrs. Frank Newcomer, 1976.54.1
Dress, designed by Claire McCardell (1905–1958) with fabric designed by Marc Chagall (1887–1985), cotton with wool sash, worn by donor Natalie Mendeloff, 1955. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Gift of Natalie Mendelhoff, 1998.19
Spectrum of Fashion gala runway, photo by Ana Tataros, Side A photography, ensembles by Katwalk Boutique featured in the foreground, October 2019, 541.
panel 5: CIVIL RIGHTS IN MARYLAND
This mural shows two examples of civil rights demonstrations that occurred in Baltimore. The people on the left are from a 1948 photograph by photo-journalist Paul S. Henderson (1899–1988), protesting the racist admission policies of Baltimore’s Ford Theatre. The people on the right are from a photograph by Sean Scheidt. They are participating in the Baltimore Uprising protests following the death of Freddie Gray. This image is meant to convey the continued willingness and legacy of activism of Baltimore’s citizenry to stand up to injustice.
Image sources: Paul Robeson and Dr. John E. T. Camper Protesting Ford’s Theatre Jim Crow Admission Policy, by Paul S. Henderson (1899–1988), acetate negative, featuring Paul Robeson (1898–1976), and Dr. John Emory Toussaint Camper (1897–1977), 1948. Maryland Center for History and Culture, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Baltimore City Life Museum Paul S. Henderson Collection, HEN.00.A2-178
Untitled [Protestors march holding signs], by Sean Scheidt, April 29, 2015. Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Archive Project, Sean Scheidt Collection, IMG_0564.
panel 6: MARYLAND QUILTS
A little girl hand sews a quilt in this evocative image from MCHC’s collection. On the right, MCHC staff use modern methods to preserve and interpret Baltimore album quilts. Arts and crafts, and especially textiles made by people like the young seamstress here, are delicate and ephemeral if not handled and stored with archival methods. This is why efforts by institutions such as MCHC are important in preserving the heritage of our state for generations to come.
Image sources: Portrait of Mary Owen Sewing, photograph by Emily Spencer Hayden, c.1915. Maryland Center for History and Culture, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Emily Spencer Hayden Photograph Collection, PP92.190a.
Isabella Thielen (left) and Vivien Barnett (right) unroll a Baltimore album quilt from 1846 (Object ID 2006.6) from its 10-foot archival tube. The rolled storage of quilts prevents creases which can lead to weakness, tearing, and loss in textiles. Photograph by the artist, 2022.
panel 7: discovery in maryland
An 1835 illustration by Alfred J. Miller of an older man showing a boy the Mastodon skeleton displayed in an imagined Baltimore Museum is juxtaposed with modern images of students discovering natural artifacts during a school tour of MCHC. It is important for the next generation of Marylanders to gain an appreciation for history to become curious and knowledgeable adults.
Image sources: Skeleton of the Mastodon forming a part of the Baltimore Museum in 1836, Alfred Jacob Miller (1810–1874), ink on paper, c.1836. Maryland Center for History and Culture, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Medium Prints Collection.
Elementary school visit photographed by Leslie Eames, Imaging Services Technician & Staff Photographer, Maryland Center for History and Culture, Baltimore, Maryland, December 2021. In the original photograph and during the visit, all students wore masks in accordance with CDC and Baltimore City guidelines for Health and Safety.
panel 8: maryland watermen
This image contrasts a mid-century image of oyster tongers working south of the Bay Bridge by famed Maryland photographer and photojournalist A. Aubrey Bodine with a modern oysterman harvesting oysters grown through conservation and restoration practices.
The Chesapeake Bay’s fisheries have been an important resource since humans have occupied the land, and efforts to conserve and restore the estuary are critical and ongoing. Restoring the native oyster population (Crassostrea virginica), which are currently at a historically low number, is vital to reviving the Chesapeake Bay. To learn more, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Image sources: Oyster Tongers near Bay Bridge, A. Aubrey Bodine (1906–1970), glass plate negative, 1952. Maryland Center for History and Culture, H. Furlong Baldwin Library, A. Aubrey Bodine Collection, B.997.1
Oyster hand-tonging near Broad Creek, a tributary of the Choptank River in Talbot County, Md., Will Parson, Chesapeake Bay Program, February 2018.