Welcome to Sumner Hall! Located in historic Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this is one of two existing African American G.A.R. buildings still standing in the United States and the only one offering regular programs. Built circa 1908 and fully restored in 2014, 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.
Sumner Hall is open each Saturday of the year from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm unless otherwise noted here on our website. We are pleased to open the museum other times by appointment. Contact us at email@example.com to make an arrangement.
Portraits of African American Civil War Soldiers
After viewing an antique photo album of 17 black soldiers from the Civil War, artist and geaology enthusiast, Shayne Davidson, researched the men’s lives and created a colored pencil portrait of each man.
According to Shayne’s artist’s statement, after she examined the locket-sized photographs of these American heroes, she felt compelled to learn more about the individuals featured in the collection. Captain William A. Prickitt, the white commander of the 25th United States Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops, Company G, had noted the names of the men and Davidson used this information to study military and census records, birth, death and marriage licenses, as well as news articles to compose family trees. By the time she had immersed herself in their individual stories she wanted to share them with oth ers. In her words, it was a privilege to bring this exhibition to life and she hopes that, “the Civil War Soldiers” Project conveys part of the story of a group of men who bravely participated in a pivotal event in our nation’s history.” We are delighted to share this inspiring exhibition through October 2018.
* * *
SCHOOL INTEGRATION IN KENT COUNTY
In 2017 and 2018 Legacy Day paid tribute to the African American educators in Kent County’s segregated schools and the black and white students who participated in the transition from segregated to integrated schools. The new display at Sumner Hall brings together these two exhibits to tell this important historical story in a fuller context. It is a narrative that is sometimes inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, but always challenging. Showing the two exhibits together reveals some common themes in the recollections of former teachers and African American students, as identified in two new posters. It also allowed us to include the recollections of five more students who were not included in this year’s exhibit at the Kent County Historical Society.