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Washington’s Secret History; Sleuths on the Shore

Washington’s Secret History; Sleuths on the Shore

Sleuths on the shore logo. Washington's Secret History magnifying glass logo above table with artifacts and VR viewer on sand with crab and bucket. Nobody knows all the secrets.  Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to become a history detective and come along with us as we unearth the secret history of a local  museum.   Your hands-on experience will introduce you to the sleuthing skills and tools used by curators to investigate the history hidden inside the historic towns and local landscapes surrounding our college.  This session is all about getting to know the hidden gems in the  Washington College community. Explore the historic small towns that surround the college while you work behind the scenes in a local museum. Learn how curators leverage 21st-century technology to share the treasures of museums with the world by creating a virtual reality tour of the museum. 

Get a sneak peek of last year’s project: 


MONDAYMeet your fellow new recruits and make contact with Dr. Courtney E. Rydel and Instructional Technologist Raven Bishop. 

Have breakfast in downtown Chestertown and receive training using all the gadgets for your mission, including VR headsets, 360 cameras and professional photo studios. 

Travel to the African American Schoolhouse Museum and begin investigating the history of the Eastern Shore with original historical artifacts. 

Make contact with local curators and community leaders to learn about the past.

Get hands-on, taking objects out of display cases, tracking down clues, and photographing objects for the virtual reality digital exhibit.

Eat lunch at a local restaurant and spend the afternoon soaking up some rays on the Chesapeake Bay.

 Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture Architectural Photrography Credit: Photography by Alan Karchmer for


Fieldwork in Washington, D.C.

Go undercover for a behind the scenes tour of the National Archives and speak with Washington College alumni who work there.  Explore the Smithsonian’s newest museum- the National Museum of African American History to get a sense of our local museum’s collection in the national context of the African American experience. 

Interview librarians and archivists who work to preserve the nation’s treasures, and see how virtual reality and web presence are important conservation tools for our country’s museums.  

Conduct surveillance behind the scenes, getting up close to our nation’s history to learn experts’ secrets in the art and science of conservation.



Wrap up our mission  Sample coffee, tea, and snacks from a Chestertown coffeeshop.

Follow up on clues about the history of artifacts, tracing their owners, origin, and unique stories.

Learn how to process, display, and label objects in museums.

Create a virtual world by developing a VR tour of the African American Schoolhouse Museum, rendering the objects in 3D, writing captions, and guiding visitors’ peek into the past.

End the day with a special treat at an original old-fashioned soda fountain (circa 1925) serving delectable soda fountain treats, ice cream,  and homemade baked goods and more. 

This message will self-destruct in August of 2019 when registration for Explore programs closes.  Good luck, agent.