Welcome to Sumner Hall! Located in historic Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Sumner Hall is one of two existing African American G.A.R. buildings still standing in the United States. Built circa 1908 and fully restored in 2014, it serves today as it serves today as a museum, education site, performance stage, social hall, gallery and community center. Sumner Hall is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, funded by donations and memberships.
Although the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition, The Way We Worked, has moved to its next site, Sumner Hall’s main hall still features the following local exhibits:
- Free and Enslaved – African Americans at Work in Antebellum Kent County. This exhibit includes 10 historical wall panels and features biographies of several African American citizens.
- Soldiers and Founders of G.A.R. Charles Sumner Post #25. Three descriptive wall panels highlight the story of African American soldiers in the U.S. Civil War and the work of the Grand Army of the Republic. Also featured: a directory of the known information about the 471 African American soldiers from Kent County who served in the war.
- Oral Histories – Reflections on Living and Working in Kent County, Maryland. Students from Kent County High School and Washington College spoke with about 50 local citizens and produced a set of video and audio interviews that document the meaning of their work and work experiences. Interviews conducted and included in Marlon Saunders’ “Choppin’ at the Shop” performance will be available after July 1st.
Please consult this website for our Calendar of Activities and Hours of Operation.