Heritage Matters: Heritage, Culture, History, and Chesapeake Bay

Chambers, Erve . 2006 . UM-SG-CP-2006-02 .
. Maryland Sea Grant . $9.95 . 54 pp.


Erve Chambers questions the often expressed view that Bay cultures are "dying." According to Chambers, a characteristic that most defines the iconic Eastern Shore watermen is their resilience, their capacity to make do. Watermen and their families pass down a range of skills, the daily lessons of life. These skills and beliefs form part of what Chambers calls "cultural heritage," a genuine form of inheritance that he contrasts with the "public heritage" we so often see in museums and tourist shops.

Chambers draws clear distinctions between private heritage that develops through the local connections of families and communities, and public heritage that is often connected to regional or national history — the publicized stories we tell ourselves that often become codified but which may lose contact with genuine roots of experience.

Chambers expresses a deep faith in the ability of local communities to adapt and change, and worries that we may be conceptually forcing Bay communities into the rigid — even if celebratory — visions we have of them.

Book Series:

Chesapeake Perspectives

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Topics Covered:

The Blue Crab: Callinectes Sapidus

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