Maryland Colonial History and the ‘Artifacts of Outlander’

Photo | Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum With “The Artifacts of Outlander” exhibit, you can travel back in time to 18th century Maryland when healers had to take care that their remedies were not perceived as witchcraft.

Photo | Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
With “The Artifacts of Outlander” exhibit, you can travel back in time to 18th century Maryland when healers had to take care that their remedies were not perceived as witchcraft.

If you follow the Starz series “Outlander” and are familiar with Jamie’s growl of “Sassenach!” or have read the book series by Diana Gabaldon, you may be interested in popping over to the Gaithersburg Community Museum to take in the traveling exhibit “The Artifacts of Outlander” showing through March 3.

Housed in the quaint, restored 1884 B&O Railroad station complex in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, the museum comprises the converted freight house, a C&O Railroad Bay Window Caboose and a silver 1950s Budd Car, which is the venue for the “Artifacts of Outlander” exhibit. Since its opening in 2015, the exhibit, created by the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory (MAC Lab), a state-owned facility that serves as the primary repository for collections excavated in Maryland and an extension of the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM) in St. Leonard, has traveled to libraries and museums in Maryland, educating people on the unique resources and holdings of the lab and museum. Starz has been supportive of the exhibit designed to promote Maryland’s archaeological collections.

City of Gaithersburg guide Geraldine Bernedo took me through the exhibit, noting that individuals and groups have come from all over Maryland and other nearby states to tour the display in the Budd car. Many visitors are familiar with the series and the books, she said, and others are simply history buffs.

By 1740, Maryland had been a colony for more than 100 years and would soon join the struggle to overthrow English rule. This exhibit showcases and compares artifacts excavated in Maryland dating back to the 1740s with those depicted in the television series, exploring the everyday life of Colonial Marylanders through the historical and archaeological record. Storyboards showing characters and scenes from the drama compare and contrast the use and similarity of materials excavated in Maryland during the same time period.

Bernedo explained that exhibit documentation categorizes each artifact unearthed, showing where and when it was found. Particularly fascinating were the intricate buckles and pins used to fasten clothing, firearms and many eating utensils and glassware. Historical programming typically takes creative license with sets and costumes to tell a story, but the comparisons with these Maryland artifacts indicate that many of the accessories used in filming the “Outlander” drama are incredibly accurate.

Take advantage of the companion program to the exhibit, “Talk & Tasting: Colonial Taverns: Spirits of the Chesapeake,” planned for Friday, March 2, 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Budd car. Rod Cofield, director of Historic London Town and Gardens, will share a history of the inns and taverns in the Chesapeake region during the 18th century. Tastings start at 7 p.m. with the talk beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 (adults only) and reservations are required by contacting the Gaithersburg Community Museum at 301-258 6160 or museum@gaithersburgmd.gov.

The “Outlander” exhibit closes on March 3. To see more, visit the museum’s website at www.gaithersburgmd.gov/about-gaithersburg/city-facilities/gaithersburg-community-museum, JPPM’s website at www.jefpat.org and their page on the MAC Lab at www.jefpat.org/mac_lab.html.

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