Scene & Heard: Maryland Historical Society's War of 1812 Bicentennial Gala
( Karen Jackson, Special to The Baltimore Sun / June 9, 2012 )
History came alive at the Maryland Historical Society, at the Society's "Our Flag Was Still There: The Bicentennial Gala of the War of 1812" -- thanks to the museum and some of its guests.
First, there was the opening of the "In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland during the War of 1812" exhibit that guests could tour.
"It's amazing. I've learned a lot about the War of 1812," said Michela Hancock, Bozzuto Development Group development manager.
"What a neat thing to have the original Star-Spangled Banner right here?" said Paul Winicki, Radcliffe Jewelers president, there with wife Karen Winicki, community volunteer.
Then, there were the guests who chose colonial garb instead of modern day black-tie, as they enjoyed dinner, dancing and general revelry under a tent behind the building.
"There's nothing like a man in uniform," said Stiles Colwill, Stiles Colwill Interiors owner, referring to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who had dressed in period regalia for the occasion.
"This is my colonel's uniform that I wear every Defenders' Day. It's not a costume, man," said the governor, with a smile.
Even though the outfits were made of heavy wool, none of the wearers would admit to discomfort in the hot summer temperatures.
"They look pretty good, don't you think?" said Peter O'Malley, Venable attorney, about the militia uniform he and Michael Enright, Beowulf Energy managing director, were sporting. Their wives -- Mindy O'Malley, Long & Foster realtor, and Allana Enright, community volunteer -- had it a tad cooler in their brocade period gowns.
"It's actually not bad, even though it's a bit like a curtain," said Mindy O'Malley with a laugh.
There was one modern uniform in the midst -- that on Courtney Wilson, B&O Railroad Museum executive director, the one he often wears as senior command advisor of the Maryland Defense Force. His wife, Leslie Wilson, assistant to Towson University's presidential scholar, chose the cocktail dress route.
As folks like Charlene O'Malley, O'Malley Antiques owner; Steve Schupak, MPT chief content officer; Carole Sibel, community volunteer; Bob Neall, MHS board chair; and Mary Park, United States Daughters of 1812 member, danced the night away, the party's organizers watched the scene with pride.
"We started out with a goal of 300 guests. But before the event was even announced, we'd sold 150 tickets. We're sold out tonight at 400, so we are very happy," said Lee Warfield, MHS Francis Scott Key Society chairman.
"We wanted to kick off the bicentennial with this gala. And now a lot of people are having fun. We're hoping we're the place to go," said Burt Kummerow, Maryland Historical Society president/CEO.
"This is the greatest kick-off ever. And that's one of the best parts," said Chris Christou, Maryland Society of the War of 1812 president, referring to a party feature that combined the past and the present: an ice luge carved in the shape of a colonial cannon.
-- Sloane Brown
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