The Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) will open its next exhibition outside of the museum to allow for social distancing and open-air exploration during COVID-19. The exhibition, titled Women of Steel, opens on October 12 on the museum’s fence along Key Highway in South Baltimore and is free of charge to view. This is the first time the BMI has hosted an outdoor exhibition.The exhibition will open during a “Week of Workers” at the museum full of programming dedicated to celebrating the history of workers in Baltimore.
Women of Steel – October 12, 2020 through April 2021
Women of Steel highlights the stories of women who worked at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point mill in Baltimore from the 1930s until the mill closed in 2012. In many cases, women endured discrimination, sexual harassment, and childcare challenges. They made choices and sacrifices as they weighed risk and rewards in search of camaraderie, respect, and a livable wage. The exhibition features photographs and first-person quotes from the women themselves.
“Planning for this exhibition was well underway when the pandemic hit, and we realized that it would be a long while before people could gather inside to view this remarkable project. We decided to move it outside where visitors would feel comfortable,” says Anita Kassof, the executive director of the BMI. “It’s also a free exhibition, so visitors can enjoy it regardless of income, as we know a lot of Marylanders are facing many challenges in the wake of the pandemic.”
The Women of Steel exhibition was made possible through gifts from Tradepoint Atlantic, PNC Bank, Robert Patterson, The Macht Fund of the Associated, and the Alvin & Louise Myerberg Family Foundation. The exhibition will be open through April 2021.
Week of Workers – October 12 – October 16, 2020
A celebration of workers will take place the week of October 12, when in addition to the opening of Women of Steel, the museum’s 1942 Whirley crane will be lit up with LED lights, and a program about behind-the scenes workers will be streamed live from the museum. Details below:
Crane: restoration of the 1942 Bethlehem Steel “Whirley” crane was completed in late 2019 and now the crane will be lit nightly in a variety of colors, celebrating the Orioles (orange), the Ravens (purple), Pride (rainbow) and more. The crane was used in local shipbuilding efforts during World War II, with the operators climbed up nearly 100 feet into the cab. The lighting is made possible by a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and in-kind support from Freestate Electric Companies.
Live from the BMI: Invisible Labor: Stories about hidden work, unseen efforts, and toiling far from the limelight. The BMI and the Stoop Storytelling Series present an evening of true stories focused on the work–and workers–that we rarely see. Thursday, Oct 15, 7-8pm. Live streamed from the museum on Zoom. Registration at bit.ly/BMIinvisiblelabor This program is sponsored by Constellation.