Renewed Experiences Bring Cultural Renaissance to Baltimore in Spring 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 9:45am
BALTIMORE, MD (January 26, 2015) – Visit Baltimore unveils new and enhanced visitor experiences in its museums and attractions, and celebrates the final chapter of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War throughout 2015. 
 
Story Ideas
 
Celebrate Black History Month. Special Black History Month celebrations take place throughout Baltimore in February, including a final look at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum’s For Whom It Stands exhibit. New this year, visitors can experience Baltimore’s three signature African-American museums on the Legends & Legacies Heritage Bus Tour. Take a look inside the spiritual life of Jimi Hendrix and works by Terrance Howard at the American Visionary Art Museum’s latest exhibit, The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster. And, at Center Stage, the “One Night in Miami” stage performance tells the story of four figures – Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown. 
 
Spring Awakenings. Spring is the season for new beginnings, and this spring two of Baltimore’s most iconic museums will reopen their doors and unveil powerful new presentations of collections to enhance the visitor experience. On April 26, 2015, the Baltimore Museum of Art will reopen its Wurtzburger African Art Gallery and Asian Art Galleries. In addition, the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum is scheduled to reopen on Orioles Opening Day (April 10, 2015) with improved public access to exhibits and other parts of the building, and will present a new permanent exhibit, Babe Ruth: 100 Years. 
 
Civil War Baltimore. During the Civil War, Maryland was caught between the North and the South. Today, Baltimore is home to many Civil War historical sites and museums, as Baltimore is where the first blood was shed. Beginning in spring 2015, Baltimore will celebrate the final chapter of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with commemorative events and exhibitions at the Maryland Historical Society and the Civil War Museum, and the B&O Railroad Museum will re-enact Lincoln’s funeral procession.
 
What’s New?
 
Mesmeric Revelations! of Edgar Allan Poe
Enoch Pratt House
Thursday-Saturday, March 26 – Early May 2015
Neither an historical reenactment nor a reproduction of Poe’s stories, Mesmeric Revelations! of Edgar Allan Poe is a new, interpretive artwork created by a collective of Baltimore performers and artists assembled by 2014 Rubys grantee Glenn Ricci. The group will invite audiences into a Poe-inspired world that can be freely explored as stories unfold and secrets are revealed. Throughout the show, audience members will share moments directly with the characters, interact with the sets, explore the environment, choose which stories to follow, and come away with a unique experience to discuss with others. The six main characters are pulled from Poe’s life and fiction and will vacillate at will between the two. www.myedgarallanpoe.com 
 
Babe Ruth: 100 Years
Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum
June 2015
Babe Ruth: 100 Years will be a new permanent exhibit to celebrate Babe Ruth entering professional baseball a century ago, with rare artifacts such as the scorebook from his first game with the then-minor league Baltimore Orioles. http://baberuthmuseum.org
 
Wurtzburger African Art Gallery
Baltimore Museum of Art
Reopening April 26, 2015 
The gallery for the BMA's celebrated African art collection will be expanded to more than three times its former size and relocated to the center of the museum's first floor for the new presentation of the Alan and Janet Wurtzburger African Art Gallery. www.artbma.org 
 
Asian Art Galleries 
Baltimore Museum of Art
Reopening April 26, 2015 
Doubling the space devoted to the Asian art collection, two renovated galleries will feature approximately 150 works, including the BMA's renowned Chinese high-fired ceramics – representing 1,000 years of innovation from the 9th through the 19th centuries, and a variety of works that show the importance of the temple and the tomb in Chinese artistic tradition. www.artbma.org 
 
Living Seashore
National Aquarium
Opens May 2015
Living Seashore is an interactive exhibit where guests can explore the shore and touch the animals that live between the tides. This new exhibit, which spans 2,700 square feet, takes guests beyond the boardwalk to the crashing waves, sandy beaches and shifting dunes of the ever-changing mid-Atlantic seashore, where they will encounter more than 150 animals, including clearnose skates, horseshoe crabs and moon jellies. Along the edge of two large touchpools, containing 5,331 gallons of salt water, guests will be able to gently touch the prickly pointed spines of a purple sea urchin; the sleek, muscular wing of an Atlantic stingray; and the mysterious, firm bell of a pulsing moon jelly. www.aqua.org/livingseashore   
 
The Ivy Hotel
Mount Vernon
Summer 2015
The Ivy Hotel will be the premier luxury hotel in Baltimore's historic Mount Vernon neighborhood. The Ivy’s 18 guest accommodations – nine suites and nine rooms – will each have a fireplace, a private bathroom, and character and charm all its own. Some will have balconies, and others will have easy access to the boutique Ivy spa, where all treatments will be customized. The Ivy experience will be like staying in the magnificent private home this historic brownstone mansion once was: all-inclusive, sophisticated, chic and a whole lot of fun. www.theivybaltimore.com 
 
Black History Month
 
One Night in Miami…
Center Stage
January 14 – February 8, 2015
February 25, 1964. Twenty-two-year-old Cassius Clay has just won the world heavyweight boxing title. Instead of hitting the town, Clay chooses to celebrate in a Miami hotel room with three close friends – activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown. This fictional account of a real night imagines what might have happened in that tiny hotel room. As the Civil Rights movement stirs outside, and the melody of “A Change is Gonna Come” hangs in the air, four men will emerge from that one night ready to define a new world. www.centerstage.org 
 
Celebrate Black History Month at the B&O 
B&O Railroad Museum
February 1-28, 2015
The B&O Railroad Museum opens a new African American exhibit that celebrates the contributions of African Americans to the railroad industry. Learn about these men and women who filled vital jobs along the B&O Railroad's line and understand how significant social issues, such as segregation, affected railroading. New exhibits focus on African American passenger travel during segregation and chefs and waiters who worked on B&O dining cars. www.borail.org 
 
Ruined
Everyman Theatre
February 4 – March 8, 2015
Based on real interviews conducted by Lynn Nottage (“By the Way, Meet Vera Stark”), “Ruined” transports you into the Congo where the shrewd and savvy matriarch-turned-businesswoman Mama Nadi struggles to hold on to her one safe refuse – a brothel – as the world around her disintegrates into war, with women's bodies too often as the battleground. www.everymantheatre.org 
 
Baltimore Legends & Legacies Heritage Bus Tour
Citywide
February 21 & 28, 2015
In honor of the founder of Black History Month and historian Carter G. Woodson, this year’s theme is “Celebrating a Century of Black Life, History, and Culture.” Baltimore invites visitors to engage in the Baltimore Legends & Legacies Heritage Bus Tour. This special event is an immersive experience featuring Baltimore’s three signature African-American museums: The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, and the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum. During the special bus tours, visitors will enjoy rich history, a personal tour guide, appearances by period actors, special “shoe box lunch,” giveaways and more. Please note that bus tour seating is limited. For more information on the Legends & Legacies Heritage Bus Tour and to reserve your space, visit http://baltimore.org or call 410-244-8861.
 
The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster 
American Visionary Art Museum
Through August 30, 2015
AVAM's 20th original exhibition celebrates the great dreamers and doers throughout history, exploring the astonishing visions of Hildegard von Bingen and Leonardo da Vinci to Nikola Tesla and Philip K. Dick and pays tribute to the ecstatic “Aha!” and “Eureka!” moments that propel discovery, leaps in consciousness and cultural renewal. The exhibition features never-before-exhibited cosmic drawings by Jimi Hendrix and examines the human impulse to forge a path out of darkness into illumination, as well as the duality and complexity of vision, from radical clarity to unfettered delusion, and the legacy of visionary experiences throughout time. www.avam.org 
 
Special Events & Exhibitions
 
LEGO® Castle Adventure
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
February 14 – September 20, 2015
Summoning all castle builders! Builders of all ages are invited to explore, build and play in the newest traveling exhibition, LEGO® Castle Adventure! In this exhibit, kids and their families are transported to a LEGO® kingdom where they too can become master castle builders, using one of the greatest building materials of all time – LEGO® bricks. Activities include Build, Build Build®, Explore a Giant Castle®, Aim a Catapult, Defend the Castle Walls, See a LEGO® Dragon and Design and Build Topiaries. www.portdiscovery.org 
 
Absolutely Febulous
Citywide
February 15-28, 2015
From February 15-28, visitors can enjoy great deals at hotels, restaurants, and museums and attractions. Here’s your chance to enjoy special, fixed-price dinner menus as well as brunch and lunch options; treat yourself to a money-saving package at your choice of accommodations and receive a bonus gift card; or enjoy “Buy One Get One” ticket offers and special programming at museums and attractions. www.absolutelyfebulous.com 
 
World Series of Poker
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore
February 26 – March 9, 2015
The World Series Poker circuit will stop at the Horseshoe Casino! It’s the first time Maryland has had a stop in the series of poker tournaments. The 11th season of the World Series of Poker Circuit kicks off July 31 and includes 21 stops through May. Other new stops include Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and Harrah’s Ak-Chin near Phoenix. www.horseshoebaltimore.com 
 
2015 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship
Royal Farms Arena
March 6-9, 2015
The road to March Madness returns to Baltimore with nine games, eight teams in four days! Baltimore will crown another champion when the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Men's Basketball Championship takes place at the Royal Farms Arena. The win-or-go-home event will crown one champion who will represent the CAA as its automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championship and the Big Dance. A new, money-saving fan package includes a room at your choice of hotels, two Harbor Passes, two admissions to the Power Plant Live! Fan Fest and an option to purchase discounted tickets for the tournament. http://baltimore.org
 
Mysteries in Lead: Living and Dying in the 17th-Century Chesapeake
Maryland Historical Society
March 25 – November 2015
See the unique lead coffins that were discovered in St. Mary's City in 1990. Holding members of the Calvert family, they are the only physical remains of Maryland's founding family that scholars have ever recovered. At the start of the exhibit, visitors are greeted by a hologram of a 17th-century colonial man. The exhibition contains the coffins in the exact arrangement as they were discovered in the foundation of the Jesuit Chapel, the oldest brick building in Maryland. A tiny skeleton of a child that died in infancy will be on display: Its bones are very fragile and some are quite small. Visitors will discover vivid insights into 17th-century life – from what settlers ate to the often gruesome medical practices they faced to their religious and burial customs that present a complete view of the harsh reality of 17th-century living. A special focus of the exhibition is on the process of archeological investigation and includes film footage of the surprising and unusual discovery. www.mdhs.org 
 
75 Years of Spirit: A Will Eisner Retrospective
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum
Opens April 1, 2015
Curated by Denis Kitchen, this exhibit has a major focus on Eisner’s work on The Spirit, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It will also focus on the rest of his career with an emphasis on his connection to Baltimore with a mixture of original art, books, comics and other artifacts. www.geppismuseum.com 
 
Dance Theatre of Harlem: Forty Years of Firsts
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
April 1 – August 30, 2015
Highlighting Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 40-plus year history, this magnificent exhibition celebrates the history and art of dance with 25 costumes and accessories, set pieces, documentary video excerpts, historical photographs, and tour posters; and includes four dramatically staged ballets that are iconic to the company: A Streetcar Named Desire, Creole Giselle, Douglas and Firebird. Dispelling the belief that ballet could not be performed by those of African descent, Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969. It has since grown into a multicultural dance institution. www.rflewismuseum.org 
 
Privateer Festival
Fell’s Point
April 18-19, 2015
Inspired by a long maritime history of schooners and privateers, the annual festival includes a craft, food and merchandise market, live music and entertainment, children’s activities, dockside ship tours and cruises, live battle reenactments featuring the Pride of Baltimore II, a grog garden, and a nautical pet costume contest. www.fellspointmainstreet.org/privateerfestival.htm 
 
Lincoln’s Funeral Procession
B&O Railroad Museum
April 18-19, 2015
In honor of the B&O Railroad Museum’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the museum will re-enact President Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession in the Roundhouse to symbolize his lying in state in the Baltimore Rotunda with an exact replica of Lincoln’s casket. The weekend will include period music, military and civilian re-enactors. In addition, a B&O Civil War locomotive will be decorated as Lincoln’s funeral train and will be on exhibit throughout the remainder of 2015. www.borail.org 
 
Kinetic Sculpture Race
American Visionary Art Museum
May 2, 2015
Kinetic sculptures are amphibious, human-powered works of art custom-built for the race. Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship on the shore of Baltimore’s Harbor in central Maryland. The eight-hour race covers 14 miles – mostly on pavement, but also including a trip into the Chesapeake Bay and through mud and sand. www.kineticbaltimore.com 
 
Marley
May 6 – June 14, 2015
Center Stage
From Center Stage’s Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah comes a world premiere musical based on the life and music of Bob Marley. After a failed attempt on his life, Marley left Jamaica in 1976 for London, where he spent nearly two years in self-imposed exile. Chronicling the events surrounding this earth-shaking moment, “Marley” tells the story of a man transformed into one of the 20th-century’s greatest musical icons. Set in the soundscape of an era, this new musical weaves together the life and music of a man who, to heal himself, first healed his homeland. www.centerstage.org
 
Maryland Film Festival
Citywide
May 6-10, 2015
Designed to advocate for films and filmmakers as they enter the marketplace, the Maryland Film Festival celebrates the art of film in the tradition of famous Baltimoreans like John Waters and Barry Levinson. Documentaries, short films and features are screened at several locations throughout the city as Baltimore goes Hollywood for the better part of a week. www.md-filmfest.com 
 
Running of the Preakness Stakes
Pimlico Race Course
May 16, 2015
The famed Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, is the largest single-day sporting event in the state of Maryland. Preakness InField Fest, a multi-entertainment festival, features national bands, two stages, unique attractions and fun activities throughout the day as fans await the running of the Preakness Stakes. www.preakness.com  
 
Coming Summer 2015
 
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture 10th Anniversary
In 2015, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum marks 10 years of offering premier exhibitions and programs on Maryland’s rich African American history and culture. When the museum turns 10 in June 2015, visitors are invited to join a bash anchored by live music. The year culminates with the museum’s gala in winter 2015. www.rflewismuseum.org 
 
A Monumental Bicentennial
Mount Vernon Place
July 4, 2015 
The Mount Vernon Place Conservancy will host “A Monumental Bicentennial” to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Baltimore’s iconic Washington Monument, the first monument in America dedicated to George Washington. The patriotic celebration will include an official re-dedication, an American Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony, tours of the monument and family-fun hands-on activities. The Conservancy recently completed a $5.5 million restoration of the monument. www.facebook.com/mountvernonplace 
 
Visit Baltimore – the official sales and marketing organization for Baltimore that generates economic benefits for stakeholders through the attraction of convention, group and leisure visitors. For more information, visit http://baltimore.org.
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Moneé Cottman

410-659-7301

mcottman@baltimore.org