Filming the maritime collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Noted DC filmmaker and photographer David Owen Hawxhurst came to St. Michaels recently to shoot a short documentary film about the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s library and maritime collection. I was invited to come lend an extra hand. It was fascinating. We started as the sun rose over the Miles River.
An entire Honda Element jam-packed with cameras, microphones, stands, lights, etc – emptied out into the front of the building. Back and forth, unpacking and moving in and out of the rooms of the collection, David was focused and fluid in moving about the tight spaces. Setting up each shot took a good hour, by the time it was lit with all equipment ready to go. Watching David work was terrific; I have such an appreciation for his craft. You could literally watch him think something through.
A tremendous amount of planning goes into a project like this, and the group had created a fairly tight script in advance, with shots and lighting planned ahead, and the story scripted. A five page document guided the filming, tons of specifics worked out in advance. Chief Curator Pete Lesher was the star of the show, and hosted the tour.
I had never been inside the Museum’s collection before. It’s amazing. It includes maritime objects reaching back into time hundreds of years, books, magazines, art, tools, ship models, boat parts, engines, fish nets, anchors, on and on and on. They are catalogued, labeled, numbered, secured and there is an entire roomful of objects not yet counted, piled and set for sorting.
People send things in, of course, and drop objects off. Some of them are rare treasures. Others are things like rusty metal spikes that someone found floating on a piece of debris, and packed up and sent in to the Museum – “is this important?”, the taped and crumpled note reads… “please call me”.
From the largest oyster shell ever, to handbuilt ship models, tools and decoys, art and ship parts, this collection is a Chesapeake treasure. And here’s David’s finished film, titled “Secret Museum: Inside the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Collection.”
Click on the youtube link below to see it: