Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Newest Exhibit: a Living Oyster Bed

Visitors to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) can learn a lot about the Bay’s oyster heritage, but they’ve never been able to watch oysters actually grow in the Bay. Until now.

CBMM has just unveiled a brand-new living oyster bed, where visitors can get an up-close look at how oyster spat grow into mature oysters.

Local oyster farm Mudgies donated the oysters and the labor to the museum, to build a foundation for a living bed at CBMM’s Waterman’s Wharf. A group of watermen helped install the beginnings of the bed.

Waterman’s Wharf is a re-created crabber’s shanty where CBMM guests can try their hand at many of the seafood harvesting activities of a Chesapeake Bay waterman. Outside the shanty are Chesapeake Bay workboats—the Hooper Island draketail Martha, the Pot Pie Jackson skiff, the 1912 tugboat Delaware, and Volunteer, a replica Smith Island crab scraper.

“CBMM is excited to be collaborating with local organizations to educate our guests with living exhibitions,” said CBMM Director of Education & Associate Curator Kate Livie. “Oysters are a large part of the Bay’s history, as well as the history of CBMM, and creating this living oyster bed adds authenticity to a fun and educational experience.”

The living oyster bed exhibit comes just in time for the 8th annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day, a fundraiser to benefit CBMM and the Talbot Watermen Association. It takes place August 13, with a “spirited boat docking contest,” crabs, and live music.