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Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities

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Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
Archival materials
Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities was a Festival program about change and renewal, pride in the past and hope for the future, and the interconnectedness of cultural life and natural history in the region. It was composed of the stories of Festival participants and their communities, told in their own words. It spoke about their joys, frustrations, and efforts to conserve the rich heritage that permeates this region like the smell of salt water and marsh mud. The people who live around the ocean and bays, marshes and swamps, rivers and creeks of the Mid-Atlantic had lifetimes of knowledge that they generously shared with Festival visitors on the National Mall. To illustrate the rich complexity of the story, the program and accompanying program book article gave particular attention to three natural resources that have been important throughout the region's history: oysters, shad, and Atlantic white cedar. The past, present, and future of the region were synopsized in these resources, all three of which cut deeply into cultural, economic, and ecological life. Each carried with it stories of exploitation, decline, and renewal of the resources that shaped Mid-Atlantic maritime community culture, the theme that brought the whole region into focus. So many changes have occurred over the past couple of generations for maritime communities in this region that long-time residents can sometimes barely recognize their hometowns. A deep sense of loss tempered many of the stories that they told to Smithsonian researchers or to Festival visitors. But maritime communities often adapt to changes. When one species of fish becomes scarce or unmarketable, you fish for another. When crabbing with wire mesh pots proves more efficient than trot-lining (running a baited line across a section of water), you buy or learn to make pots. When recreational fishing catches on in your area, you fish for bait or get a charter-boat license. When the oyster-shucking or crab-picking plant shuts down, you get a job cooking at a local seafood restaurant or a nearby school. It's all about adaptation, flexibility, and survival - and it was these values that were on abundant display during the two weeks of the 2004 Festival. A website presented the field research and Festival activities. Betty J. Belanus was Curator and Arlene Reiniger was Coordinator; Amy Skillman was Fieldwork Coordinator. The program was made possible by a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and produced in collaboration with the State of Maryland, National Endowment for the Arts, and Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network/ National Park Service; with generous contributions from Virginia Historic Resources, Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, St. Mary's White Chapel Episcopal Church, Maryland State Arts Council, North Carolina Arts Council, North Carolina Tourism, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Phillips Seafood, and The Nature Conservancy; and with special thanks to National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
The American Folklife Center/Library of Congress, Salisbury University's 2003 Summer Folklife Field School: Karen Amspacher, Harold Anderson, Lora Bottinelli, Tom Carroll, Shelly Drummond, Elaine Eff, John Eilertson, Susan Charles Groth, Thomas Hemans, Jill Hemming, James Lane, Jon Lohman, Connie Mason, Charlie Petrocci, Feather Phillips, Michael Sciarappa, Amy Skillman, Nancy Solomon, William Stott, Tom Walker, Meghan Wren
Karen Amspacher, Harold Anderson, Lora Bottinelli, Charles Camp, Shelly Drummond, Elaine Eff, Susan Charles Groth, Thomas Hemans, Jill Hemming, Paula Johnson, Carrie Kline, James Lane, Jon Lohman, Tom McHugh, Connie Mason, Rita Moonsammy, Pam Morris, Charlie Petrocci, Amy Skillman, Nancy Solomon, William Stott, Rory Turner, Tom Walker, Meghan Wren
Boatyard Alexandria Seaport Foundation, boat-building, Alexandria, Virginia Jimmy Amspacher, 1946-, boat-building, Marshallberg, North Carolina Heber Guthrie, 1951-, boat-building, Gloucester, North Carolina Long Island Maritime Museum, boat-building, West Sayville, New York The Mariner's Museum, boat-building, Newport News, Virginia -- The Mariner's Museum, boat-building, Newport News, VirginiaLyles Forbes, 1964-, Newport News, VirginiaJames R. KnightMartin NoffsingerMarcie RennerRoger P. Worthen Skipjack Captains and Restoration Experts, boat-building, Chesapeake Bay Region Commercial Fishing Nadine Benevides, 1958-, menhaden fishing, Gloucester, North Carolina Joey Benevides, 1989-, menhaden fishing, Gloucester, North Carolina Danny Bowden, 1956-, gill-netting, crabbing, guiding, Chincoteague, Virginia Ivy Bradley, 1930-, hatchery manager, Pamunkey Reservation, Virginia Warren Cook, 1937-, hatchery manager, Pamunkey Reservation, Virginia Dallas Bradshaw, fish-netting, oystering, clamming, crab-scraping, bank-trapping, crab-potting, Crisfield, Maryland Rufus Carter, menhaden fishing, Lewes, Delaware Captain Virgin "Gus" Dunaway, 1929-, waterman, Kilmarnock, Virginia Ronald Fithian, 1951-, town manager, Rock Hall, Maryland Captain Charles Forrest, 1931-, menhaden fishing, Susan, Virginia Helen Forrest, menhaden fishing, Susan, Virginia Captain Matthew "Sonny" Gaskins, Sr., 1929-, menhaden fishing, Weems, Virginia Skye Hilton, 1983-, crabbing, mussel fishing, Patchogue, New York Wayne "Hon" Lawson, 1936-, waterman, Crisfield, Maryland Stewart Lester, 1936-, haul-seining, dragger-man, lobsterman, swordfish harpooner, pound-trap fisherman, Amagansett, New York Steve Meserve, 1961-, shad fishing, Ringoes, New Jersey Sue Meserve, 1952-, shad fishing, Ringoes, New Jersey Flo Sharkey, 1942-, bay-woman, Brookhaven, New York Scott Sheppard, oystering, crabbing, conch fishing, Port Norris, New Jersey Bradley Styron, 1950-, shrimp, fish, crab, oyster, and clam fishing, Cedar Island, North Carolina Carl Tarnow, 1934-, pound-net fishing, clamming, oystering, net mending, Raritan Bay, New Jersey Melvin Twiddy, 1921-, shad fishing, Manns Harbor, North Carolina Carl Tyler, Jr., waterman, Crisfield, Maryland Cory Weyant, 1957-2011, eeling, crabbing, Freeport, New York The Whittington Family, oyster shucking, gospel singing, Port Norris, New Jersey Community Program Presenters Karen Willis Amspacher, 1955-, Marshallberg, North Carolina James Lane, 1951-, Crisfield, Maryland Tom McHugh, 1938-, Rock Hall, Maryland Pam Davis Morris, 1962-, Davis, North Carolina Feather Phillips, Columbia, North Carolina Meghan Wren, 1964-, Bivalve, New Jersey Keeping the Waters Safe & Water Safety Delaware River Pilots, Lewes, Delaware Herbert Groh, 1920-, docking pilot, Catonsville, Maryland Reggie Jones, lifeguard, Jones Beach, New York Overfalls Maritime Museum Foundation, Lewes, Delaware The United States Sail and Power Squadron Kids' Coast Environmental Learning Center Hudson River Clearwater Sloop, Inc. Mildred Moore, 1934-, potter, Pamunkey Indian Reservation, Virginia The Nature Conservancy Oyster Recovery Partnership Maritime Kitchen Dawn Chesser, 1947-, foodways, Sanford, Virginia Janice Marshall, 1945-, foodways, Smith Island, Maryland Kenneth Pinkard, 1959-, foodways, Burgess, Virginia Clyde Roberts, foodways, Port Penn, Delaware John Shields, foodways, Baltimore, Maryland Debbie Styron, 1953-, foodways, Cedar Island, North Carolina Ramona Whittington, 1959-, foodways, Crisfield, Maryland Marshlife & Waterfowling Area Anthony Brooks, 1964-, decoy carver, Harkers Island, North Carolina Chatmon Bryant, 1931-, hunter, trapper, storyteller, Alligator, North Carolina Victor Bryson, 1957-, snapping turtle harvester, Port Penn, Delaware Grayson Chesser, 1947-, decoy carver, Sanford, Virginia Jack Combs, 1935-, decoy carver, Riverhead, New York Douglas Gibson, 1923-, decoy carver, Milford, Delaware Bo Lusk, 1975-, kayak guide, Cape Charles, Virginia Kelley Nelson, 1963-, decoy carver, Morehead City, North Carolina Glenn Phillips, 1966-, call-maker, bird-caller, Ocean City, Maryland Fred Reitmeyer, 1941-, decoy carver, Tuckerton, New Jersey Lonnie" Ray" Sykes, 1949-, trap-maker, Alligator Community, Columbia, North Carolina Recreational Fishing Pete Ames, Sr., 1949-, rod-maker, Little Neck, New York Shawn Giacobbe, 1961-, charter boat captain, Chincoteague, Virginia George McGinnity, taxidermist, New Freedom, Pennsylvania Shirley Price, bait supplier, Cedar Neck, Delaware Richie Tillman, Jr., 1975-, fly-tier, Queenstown, Maryland Sailing and Related Crafts The Bayshore Discovery Center & A.J. Meerwald Schooner, oystering, Bivalve, New Jersey Jim Langley, 1946-, model boat-making, Solomons Island, Maryland National Maritime Heritage Foundation, maritime history, Washington, D.C. Harry Saarinen, 1952-, sculptor, painter, Amityville, New York Kelly Smyth, blacksmith, Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania Lynn Stevens, 1952-, sail-maker, Shady Side, Maryland Shore Memories Performance Area Earl Carawan, 1939-, old-time, bluegrass music, Swan Quarter, Fairfield, North Carolina Leland Carawan, 1936-, old-time, bluegrass music, Swan Quarter, North Carolina Davy Crockett, 1954-, singer, guitarist, Tangier Island, Virginia Dr. Tom Flowers, 1923-, raconteur, Cambridge, Maryland Rodney Kemp, 1946-, storyteller, Moorehead City, North Carolina Elmer Mackall and the Faith Singers -- Elmer Mackall and the Faith SingersElmer Mackall, 1923-, piano, vocals, Prince Frederick, MarylandThelma Claggett, 1955-, vocals, Prince Frederick, MarylandMargaret Copeland, 1953-, vocals, Prince Frederick, MarylandOllie Williams, vocals, Suitland, Maryland Magpie, Takoma Park, Maryland -- Magpie, Takoma Park, MarylandGreg Artzner, 1952-, singer, instrumentalistTerry Leonino, 1951-, singer, instrumentalist Connie Mason, 1954-, singer, instrumentalist, Beaufort, North Carolina Janie Meneely, raconteur, Eastport, Maryland The New Gospelites, gospel singers, Worton Point, Maryland -- The New Gospelites, gospel singers, Worton Point, MarylandLester Barrett, Jr., 1958-, Chestertown, MarylandFranklin Hynson, 1933-, Chestertown, MarylandMary Hynson, 1942-, Chestertown, MarylandStevenson Hynson, 1951-, Camden, DelawareJerome McKinney, 1965-, Worton, MarylandIrene Moore, 1937-, Chestertown, MarylandHester Newnam, 1955-, Chestertown, MarylandJames Phillips, Worton, MarylandKaren Somerville, 1958-, Worton, Maryland David Norris, 1953-, singer-songwriter, storyteller, Hollywood, Maryland Joseph Norris, 1953-, singer-songwriter, storyteller, California, Maryland The Northern Neck Chantey Singers, menhaden chanteys, Northumberland and Lancaster Counties, Virginia -- The Northern Neck Chantey Singers, menhaden chanteys, Northumberland and Lancaster Counties, VirginiaSelby Basker, 1922-, Reedville, VirginiaEdward Chewning, 1929-, Weems, VirginiaCristopher Harvey, 1935-, Heathsville, VirginiaCalvin Hill, 1935-, Burgess, VirginiaWilliam Muse, Lottsburg, VirginiaElton Smith, Jr., 1926-, Shackerfords, VirginiaEdward Taylor, 1921-, Reedville, VirginiaClarence Tiggle, 1924-, Lottsburg, Virginia The Phillips Gangplank Ragtime Band, Dixieland jazz, ragtime -- The Phillips Gangplank Ragtime Band, Dixieland jazz, ragtimeGary Carper, 1955-, Fredericksburg, VirginiaDottie Donaldson, 1924-, Baltimore, MarylandDarrel Guimond, 1936-, Lancaster, PennsylvaniaHenning Hoehne, 1939-, Annapolis, MarylandDick SmithJay Wachter, 1946-, Baltimore, Maryland The SAIF Water Singers, spirituals, Lancaster and Northumberland Counties, Virginia Them Eastport Oyster Boys, singers, instrumentalists, Eastport, Maryland -- Them Eastport Oyster Boys, singers, instrumentalists, Eastport, MarylandKevin Brooks, 1954-, Annapolis, MarylandAndy Fegley, 1961-, trombone, Annapolis, MarylandTom Guay, 1952-, guitar, fiddle, hammer dulcimer, Annapolis, MarylandJefferson Holland, 1954-, ukulele, Annapolis, MarylandKeith Manual, 1970-, percussion, Annapolis, MarylandPeter Miller, 1954-, bass, Arnold, MarylandRandy Neilson, 1952-, accordion, Crownsville, Maryland Sonny Williamson, storyteller, Cedar Island, North Carolina Tom Wisner and Friends -- Tom Wisner and FriendsTom Wisner, 1930-2010, singer-songwriter, educator, Solomons Island, MarylandFrank Schwartz, 1950-, West Suffield, ConnecticutFranklin M. Walter, 1948-, Catonsville, MarylandTeresa Whitaker, 1952-, West Suffield, Connecticut Bob Zentz, 1944-, singer, instrumentalist, Norfolk, Virginia
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Where a listening copy or viewing copy has been created, this is indicated in the respective inventory; additional materials may be accessible with sufficient advance notice and, in some cases, payment of a processing fee. Older papers are housed at a remote location and may require a minimum of three weeks' advance notice and payment of a retrieval fee. Certain formats such as multi-track audio recordings and EIAJ-1 videoreels (1/2 inch) may not be accessible. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 or for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright and other restrictions may apply. Generally, materials created during a Festival are covered by a release signed by each participant permitting their use for personal and educational purposes; materials created as part of the fieldwork leading to a Festival may be more restricted. We permit and encourage such personal and educational use of those materials provided digitally here, without special permissions. Use of any materials for publication, commercial use, or distribution requires a license from the Archives. Licensing fees may apply in addition to any processing fees.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
CFCH.SFF.2004, Series 5
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Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections