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October 13, 1998


BALTIMORE - "Mill Town Heritage on the Patapsco: Ellicott City and Oella," on display in UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library Rotunda until Dec. 15, highlights the oral histories of these two communities. The exhibit runs daily and is free and open to the public.

The display consists of historic photos which illustrate principal themes from interviews with town residents. Professional interviewer Ali Kahn conducted 28 interviews, under the auspices of the Patapsco Heritage-Greenway Committee, by asking participants to share their memories in public "narrative stage" events in Oella last April and in Ellicott City in September. Included in the exhibit are images of town bands, school photos, old swimming holes, favorite local stores and community outings, as well as outhouses and communal water pumps.

Under the direction of Edward Orser, UMBC professor of American studies, UMBC students reviewed Kahn's interviews to select representative quotations, then searched for photos from area sources to accompany them. They also conducted original research on the two communities using the 1920 federal manuscript census. Student researchers were Laura Keller, Lisa Denisio, Christy Smith and Donna Neutze. Zahra Safavian, a UMBC alumna, designed the exhibit.

Both the oral history interviews and the exhibit received major funding from the Maryland Historic Trust. Other contributors included the Catonsville Historical Society and the UMBC Department of American Studies.

The Patapsco Heritage Committee works to preserve and enhance the historic, recreational and environmental heritage of the Patapsco River Valley. The committee next plans to conduct interviews with residents of the Elkridge and Relay areas of the river valley.

For more information, call the UMBC Department of American Studies, 410.455.6276, or the Patapsco Heritage Greenway Committee, 410.465.1700.

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Posted by dwinds1 at October 13, 1998 12:00 AM