Killed in the lower yards

In the first few years of the 20th century, approximately 35,000 deaths and 1 million injuries per year occurred on industrial jobs in America.

Many of the deaths occurred on railroad jobs, which were especially dangerous.

The newspaper cutting below describes the horrific injuries that caused the death of switchman James G. Blaine of Cumberland as he shifted cars. Switchmen worked in the railroad yards, hooking cars together, sometimes while the cars were moving.

No federal regulation of safety nor enforcement of state or local safety regulations existed, and courts were not sympathetic to worker claims.

You will be able to see the story of how labor organizations fought for the right of workers to safe working conditions in our display of artifacts, photos and cuttings during the Smithsonian Way We Worked exhibition, February 3 to March 24 2017 – free!

Killed in the lower yards

Labor unions and Allegany County

Labor Unions? Hate ’em or love ’em, they are an important part of our history.
Allegany Museum will feature an exhibition of the history of labor unions in Allegany County, showing the ways in which they have contributed to the health and welfare of our workers.

The exhibition will also trace how negotiations between workers and companies have developed from confrontations that sometimes included violence, to sitting down to negotiate peacefully.

The photo is of striking workers at the Celanese textile plant, November 1936.celanese scabs stay away

The exhibition will include the Smithsonian travelling The Way we Worked exhibition, as well as a history of New Deal programs in Allegany County, opens February 3 2017.
Enjoy this song and video about the 1947 Celanese Workers Strike, Cumberland MD.

Allegany Museum Ballroom Rentals: Make Your Own History!

The Allegany Museum is the largest neo-classical revival style building in Western Maryland. The beautiful wood-paneled ballroom is a wonderful space for wedding receptions, conferences, meetings, birthday parties, and other events.
All rental packages all include set-up and tear-down and can be customized to suit the needs of any occasion.
Let our staff work with you to create a memorable event.  Amenities include use of the Board room and table with seating for sixteen, our caterer’s kitchen, tables & chairs, historic bar, quadrasonic sound system, use of our exhibits and our portable stage. So, what are you waiting for? Start making your own history in Allegany County and book today!

Contact  or click here for more information.


Museum presented with American and Whiskey Rebellion flags

WoodmenLife Chapter #6 members recently presented nine Whiskey Rebellion Flags and a American Flag to the Allegany Museum.

Rebellion Flag

Rebellion Flag

The American flag was the seventh the organization has presented to the Museum for use on our outdoor flagpole. WoodmenLife is the largest provider of American Flags, second only to the Federal Government.  American, State, Religious and Veteran Flags are given free of charge to non-profit organizations and schools.

The Whiskey Rebellion flags will be flying proudly at our 2017 Whiskey Rebellion Celebration on June 9.

The photo shows Museum President Gary Bartik, Nancy Davis, WoodmanLife Trustee, Carol Kirchner, Jurisdiction of Maryland President, Vicki Cappello, Escort, Haylee Twigg, Youth Member; Emory Davis, Jrs. President, Courtney McKay, Museum Manager, and Vic Rezendes, Museum Vice President.



Can you contribute to our new Smithsonian exhibition?

icegirlsexhibitpage400Allegany Museum is hosting the Smithsonian exhibition ‘The Way We Worked’ February 3 to March 24 2016.
As part of the exhibition, the Museum has agreed to construct an exhibition relating to local labor unions (focusing on the major changes to working life that came about through union action) and the New Deal programs (WPA, PWA, CCC etc.) in Allegany County.
We would like to hear from you if you have ephemera, photos, artifacts, and memories that we could use.
Please respond ASAP – we have a very short timeline on this one!

Our area’s ‘Boston Pops’ presents ‘Backstage with the Band’.

The Potomac Concert Band will hold its annual open rehearsal, ‘Backstage with the Band’,  in the Allegany Museum grand ballroom, second floor, 3 Pershing St at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, June 22nd.

Not only is this event free, but audience members will have an opportunity to speak with band members, ask questions, and get an up-close view of the various sections.

The Potomac Concert Band boasts some of our finest musicians, and presents traditional marches, Broadway show tunes, TV theme music, patriotic selections, and popular songs.


Today is the 204th anniversary of the War of 1812

June 18 2016 is the 204th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812.
In the fall of 1814, two companies were formed in Allegany County that totaled 227 fighting men. Lowdermilk notes that Allegany County manifested a ‘considerable degree of enthusiasm’ when called upon to join the state’s militia. Captains Thomas Blair and William McLaughlin formed two companies – Blair’s was mostly from Cumberland. The companies were ‘made up of excellent material’.
When news of victory eventually reached Cumberland, Lowdermilk notes that “Processions paraded the streets, singing and shouting, and the entire population took part in the celebration.”
An interesting side note: The Georges Creek Valley was settled mostly by “pensioners of the Revolution and the War of 1812, their heirs and descendants.” Notes on Georges Creek, by Felix G. Robinson.
(I couldn’t find an image of Thomas Blair, but I found this discharge paper for one of the fighting men from Allegany County)

Broadwater, Charles discharge 1814

Allegany Museum to host Smithsonian ‘The Way We Worked’ next February

WPA road workWhether we work for professional satisfaction and personal growth or to ensure the well-being of ourselves and our families, work is a part of nearly every American’s life. Office workers, factory workers, homemakers, truckers and the millions more who keep the nation going through their work make great contributions not only to industry, but also to American culture.

The Way We Worked, adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years.  The exhibition draws from the Archives’ rich collections to tell this compelling story.

Allegany  Museum will display the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, and also artifacts, photos, and stories from the history of labor unions in Allegany County, and FDR’s New Deal projects in the area.