Box For John Brown at the Baltimore Civil War Museum on President & Fleet

After a quick ride Wyman Park for lunch with C. I headed downtown for a little research trip to the Baltimore Civil War Museum in the old President Street Station down in Harbor East. Increasingly museums are going after tourist dollars, so they have tourist things, like touch screens and interactive displays and games and flashbang. That old object/placard thing just doesn’t do it for Kids Today, apparently. And then there’s this museum, tiny, telling three interrelated stories in one tiny little space and then sprinkling it with random stuff from the 1940s, and you don’t expect to see that stuff. Their interactive displays are designed to engage young visitors for fun and learning, but they’re lower-tech. One is this box that’s about the size of the one used to ship John Brown’s body after he was hung following his raid on Harper’s Ferry. The other was a smaller box that was the size and shape of the one Henry “Box” Brown used to ship himself to freedom. “Could you spend a day of silence in a box like this? Henry Brown did to escape slavery over 150 years ago. Sit inside and imagine his journey.” I didn’t, and I took some notes to help me think about this stuff later and then I made a quick stop at the gym before riding around looking for a TV to watch the rest of the game, and then zig-zagging around Canton, pedaling out the anxiety of a bottom-of-the-13th-bases-loaded-no-outs-failure-to-score. Back up the hill to home, The O’s won it in the 14th, dinner with V., and home again. Without a bike I’d probably have just stayed at home all day.

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