War of 1812 Bicentennial Events, Exhibits and News

2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  In honor of this event, we offer a list of War of 1812 events, exhibits, and news items.  This list is by no means complete, but will hopefully offer a number of entry points into the bicentennial celebrations.


Running now until April 13, 2012 is the War of 1812 Portrait Exhibit at the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis, Maryland.  The exhibit features portraits rendered by Ann Monro Wood.

The Maryland Historical Society’s ongoing exhibit, With Broad Stripes and Bright Stars includes the original manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner, which has been incorporated into a new exhibit on Baltimore’s role in the War of 1812.  Another exhibit, In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812, opens June 10, 2012.

On April 15th, the Maryland Historical Society presents Silver & Gold for War of 1812 Officers, an installment of the Francis Scott Key Lecture Series (PDF).  Ann Wagner, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts at Winterthur Museum will speak at 6:00 p.m at the Society.

Other upcoming speakers in the Francis Scott Key series include, Edward C. Papenfuse, Ph.D., Maryland State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents at the Maryland State Archives, and Carol Stoltis, Project Associate Curator, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Dr. Papenfuse, Ph.D., will present his  lecture Mapping Baltimore During the Era of the War of 1812  begins at 6:00 p.m. on October 4, 2012.  Stoltis’ lecture, A Pacifist and the Defenders: Rembrandt Peale and His Portraits of Baltimore’s Heroes of the War of 1812, will be held November 1A, at 6:00 p.m.

From June 13-19, 2012, Baltimore will host The Star-Spangled Sailabration.  An international parade of ships will sail into the Inner Harbor to launch the U.S. Bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812.   The ships will start passing by Fort McHenry on June 12.

Currently on view at Philadelphia’s  Independence Seaport Museum is Home of the Brave: The War of 1812 in Art, Story & Song.  The exhibit runs through December 31, 2012:

Comprised of objects from the collection of Independence Seaport Museum, as well as loans from the Dietrich American Foundation and other private collectors, the exhibition explores the naval aspect of the War of 1812 through the lenses of art, material and popular culture, as well as first-hand accounts of participants and on-lookers.

New York Humanities Council Events:

On April 14, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. Tom Shanahan will present a lecture, 1812: Uncle Sam’s First War at the New York State Library in Albany, New York.

Raya Lee offers a lecture, War of 1812: Fury, Frenzy and Honor at the Wood Library in Canadaigua, New York on April 18, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.

On April 19th, Dave Ruch offers a lecture/concert entitled The War of 1812: Songs and Stories from New York and Beyond.  The event will be held at the Sardinia Meeting House in Sardinia, New York, starting at 7:00 p.m.

On April 23rd, at 6:00 p.m., Alfred Ronzoni will present From Battleground to Empire State: New York and the War of 1812 at York College, the City University of New York.

Robert W. Arnold III will present 1812: New York’s War, New York’s Impetus on April 25 at 7:00 p.m. at Herkimer County Community College.

From July 20, 2012 – July 21, 2012, the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site will host President Monroe Looks Back on the War of 1812.  First-person interpreter Dennis Bigelow will portray Mr. Monroe in this unique event.  http://www.nyhumanities.org/events/event.php?event_id=5066

Please note that a number of the New York Humanities Council events will be held in multiple locations in the next six months.  Please see their events calendar for details.

From June 15, 2012 – January 27, 2013, the Smithsonian will host 1812: A Nation Emerges in the Portrait Gallery:

This exhibition tells the story of the war that one historian called, “the second American Revolution.” Through portraits and objects, it explores key people who influenced the turn of events, including President James Madison and Dolley Madison, General Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and the powerful Indian leader Tecumseh. The exhibition also follows the stories of soldiers, slaves, financiers, industrialists, artists, architects, Native Americans, and women. The victory at New Orleans became a national holiday and added to a growing sense of American nationalism. The epic battles and the aftermath known as “the era of good feelings” are central elements of this story, linked by the biographies of the extraordinary and colorful leaders whose lives shaped its direction.

The New York Humanities Council is accepting War of 1812 Mini Grants from now until September 20, 2012.  Grants of up to $3,000 are available to present humanities-based public programs exploring the legacy of the War of 1812 in New York State.  Eligibility requirements and application procedures are available online.

Last summer, an archaeological dig at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base uncovered military artifacts which indicated that the site was a winter encampment for soldiers during the War of 1812.  Uniform buttons bearing the number 15 were uncovered, indicating that the U.S. Army’s 15th Regiment had occupied the site.  More excavations are planned at the site this summer.

The National Park Service at the National Heritage Area in Baltimore, Maryland has developed a War of 1812 traveling exhibit.  The exhibit is free and available to museums, libraries, and historical sites.

On the web:

Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission

Maryland Humanities Council War of 1812 Bicentennial: For information on special events, organizations, and media and archives collections.

The Official War of 1812 Bicentennial: a binational site with an events calendar covering events in Canada and the United States.