current & recent Exhibits

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current: Over here, over there: shore stories from the great war

Running Sept. 21 through Dec. 15, 2018: With Nov. 11 marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society is launching a World War I exhibit featuring Eastern Shoremen and their role in America’s part of the conflict. Begun in 1914 among European nations, the war soon spread throughout the world. The United States tried to remain neutral but declared war on Germany in 1917 after several attacks on U.S. ships by German submarines. From across the United States, thousands of men, including hundreds from the Eastern Shore, enlisted in the armed forces. Many would not see home again. From personal letters, diaries, and artifacts, the story of America in wartime is told through the eyes of Eastern Shoremen. Nineteen-year-old Allen R. Watson of Locustville served with the 115th Infantry. In letters to his family and friends, he wrote of life at Alabama’s Camp McClellan, where he trained, and the horrors of the front lines. Ellet A. Lewis of Grotons served aboard the USS Westerdyk and kept a diary detailing the month leading up to the end of the conflict. John Bowdoin Mears of Keller was an older Navy surgeon on shore leave throughout much of the war, and he wrote down the goings-on of the Eastern Shore during this time period.

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SPRING 2018: piecing it all together: quilts of the eastern shore

This exhibit featured quilts from Salisbury University’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture as well as quilts from the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society’s collection. It highlighted technical information about the quilts, including pattern names, the number of stitches per inch, and types of fabric as well as the history behind the quilts. These quilts come to life when we know who made them, where the makers lived, and what the quilters may have been doing when they created them. The Nabb Center quilts come from several families on the Eastern Shore, including the Lankford, Hargis, White, and Adkins families. The ESVHS quilts come from the Belote, Parker, Wise, and Turlington families.


FALL 2017: architecture and Change: Preserving the eastern shore

In the mid-20th century, a physician from Onancock, Dr. John Robertson, traveled the Eastern Shore, camera in hand, photographing whatever subject caught his fancy. During the course of 40 years, Robertson’s photographic collection grew, including more than 500 pictures of Eastern Shore homes. Each house was unique, both in architectural style and history. This exhibit took a look at these homes from then and now, exploring the architecture and stories that make these Eastern Shore homes unique. 

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fall 2016: play ball! eastern shore baseball from the 1920s to 1950s

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society showcased an exhibit on the Eastern Shore Baseball League from 1922 to 1949. This unique exhibit featured rare memorabilia, photographs and autographs, and information on the creation of the Eastern Shore Baseball League from three private collections. Residents of the Shore community were encouraged to bring in personal treasures for experts to evaluate. The Parksley Spuds, located in Parksley, Va., would go down in history as the first Eastern Shore League pennant winner, winning three pennants from 1922 to 1928. Future Major-Leaguers and Hall of Famers such as Frank “Home Run” Baker, Jimmie Foxx, Red Ruffing, Mickey Cochrane, and Paul Richards honed their skills around the Eastern Shore.