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American Visionary Art Museum is part of Free Fall Baltimore Event

October 1, 2009 by  
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American Visionary Art Museum

The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is an art museum located in the Federal Hill neighborhood at 800 Key Highway in Baltimore, Maryland. The city agreed to give the museum a piece of land on the south shore of the Inner Harbor under the condition that its organizers would clean up residual pollution from a copper paint factory and a whiskey warehouse that formerly occupied the site. It has been designated by Congress as America’s national museum for self-taught art.

The founder and director of the AVAM is Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, a former psychiatric nurse who left her job to “trumpet the wonders of raw human creativity”. The museum was opened to the public on November 24, 1995.

AVAM has 55,000 square feet of exhibit space but has a permanent collection of only 4,000 pieces. The collection includes works by visionary artists Ho Baron, Clyde Jones, Vollis Simpson and Ben Wilson as well as over 40 pieces from the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre of London. Some of this work is displayed in a gallery on the first floor of the Main Building, throughout the James Rouse Visionary Center, and outdoors when new temporary themed exhibitions are being installed.

The museum has no staff curators, preferring to use guest curators for its shows. Rather than focusing shows on specific artists or styles, it sponsors themed exhibitions with titles such as Wind in Your Hair and High on Life. Hoffberger takes pride in the fact that AVAM is “pretty un-museumy”.

Source: Wikipedia

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts has created the Free Fall Baltimore Event. Throughout the month of October the following Museums and Arts venues are offering specific performances, events, workshops, and exhibits for free:

  • American Visionary Art Museum
  • Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
  • Baltimore Museum of Art
  • Baltimore Museum of Industry
  • Contemporary Museum
  • Homewood Museum
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
  • School 33 Art Center
  • The Walters Art Museum

Space is limited for some of these events. Advanced registration may be needed.

Today I’ll highlight a little more about what is happening at the American Visionary Art Museum.

On Friday October 2nd at 7pm, there will be a preview party for “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. There is limited access and reduced admission pricing until the opening which is Saturday October 3rd.

On Sunday October 25th, as part of the Free Fall Baltimore event, the American Visionary Art Museum is having an open house with free admission. They will be featuring their new exhibit “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” with music, performances, and a panel discussion:

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
A celebration through a variety of performing arts media of the museum’s current exhibition: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” featuring performances from the Maryland Correctional Training Center by Baltimore-based playwright Bashi Rose. Theatrical pieces/film from the Hagerstown prison showcase meditations on civil rights from the perspective of these incarcerated men. Mr. Rose will also serve as a member of a panel discussion for the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness exhibit. Free admission to the museum.

Sun Oct 25 10am – 6 pm
No advance reservations required.

Since 1999 the American Visionary Art Museum has been sponsoring the east coast Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race. The 2010 event will be on Saturday May 1st. This is an amazing event, and it deserves a blog post of it’s own. I have some time before that post is timely, but if you want to enter, you may want to start building over the cold winter. Maybe a house with a heated garage would warm your heart a little.

Photo Credit: Vox Efx.

The Walters Art Museum is part of Free Fall Baltimore Event

September 30, 2009 by  
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The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum, located in Baltimore, Maryland’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, is a public art museum founded in 1934. The museum’s collection was amassed substantially by two men, William Thompson Walters (1819-1894), who began serious collecting when he moved to Paris at the outbreak of the American Civil War, and Henry Walters (1848–1931), who refined the collection and rehoused it in a palazzo building on Charles Street which opened in 1909. Upon his death, Henry Walters bequeathed the collection of over 22,000 works and the original Charles Street palazzo building to the city of Baltimore, “for the benefit of the public.” The collection touches masterworks of ancient Egypt, Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, medieval ivories, illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance bronzes, Old Master and 19th-century paintings, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, and Art Deco jewelry.

Source: Wikipedia

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts has created the Free Fall Baltimore Event. Throughout the month of October the following Museums and Arts venues are offering specific performances, events, workshops, and exhibits for free:


Space is limited for some of these events. Advanced registration may be needed.

Today I’ll highlight a little more about what is happening at The Walters Art Museum.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 North Charles Street in Baltimore City. Since 2006, the permanent collection has been free admission. The featured exhibitions require admission, or a museum membership. During this event the following is free as well:

Lectures, Concerts, Exhibits, Family Festivals and Mysterious Evenings
Lunch and Learn–Tiny Treasures with Great Power
Bring your lunch to the Graham Auditorium & hear Ben. C. Tilghman, Zanvyl Krieger Curatorial Fellow, Manuscripts & Rare Books, discuss “miniature art” in conjunction with The Walters exhibition: Shrunken Treasures: Miniaturization in Books and Art.
Thur Oct 1 12:15pm-1:15pm
Pre-registration recommended

The Red Cedar Trio
Award-winning Iowa-based chamber ensemble performs a program of new music inspired by Roman artworks
Sun Oct 4 2pm
Pre-registration recommended

Ignite Baltimore
Only 16 People can speak for five minutes on any topic using 20 slides. Come join the fun! To be selected, visit
Thur Oct 22 7pm-11pm

Opening Day Talk – Heroes: Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece
Introduction by Sabine Albersmeier, Associate Curator of Ancient Art, The Walters Art Museum
Sun Oct 11 2pm
Pre-registration recommended

First Fridays at The Walters
Every First Friday from 5:30pm-8:30pm
Visit for specific details

Master of the Macabre: A Night at the Museum with Edgar Allan Poe
A mysterious evening of gothic music, Poe readings, and explorations of the Walters’ Chamber of Wonders.
Fri Oct 2 5:30pm-8:30pm

October Drop-In Art Activities: Bump in the Night
Bring the family in for a month of celebrating Edgar Allen Poe through art. Create illustrated Poe stories, nighttime creature sculptures, moonlit silhouette shadow boxes and some of the critters you might find in the Walters’ collection.
Every Sat & Sun in Oct 10am – 3pm

Free Family Festival of Champions
Discover your inner superheroes and explore famous characters from ancient Greece to modern times. Celebrate local Baltimore heroes and create artwork honoring champions. Enjoy imaginary journeys with storytellers, musicians and theater groups.
Sat, Oct 24 10am-4pm

Heroes Weekend Walk-in Tours
Sun Oct 25 2pm

Photo Credit: Vox Efx.

2009 Maryland Home and Garden Show, Friday Saturday and Sunday

March 12, 2009 by  
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Garden Flowers

The 2009 Maryland Home and Garden Show is going on right now at Timonium fairgrounds. The theme this year is “The Joy of Color”. The show this year runs for the following dates: March 6th through March 8th and again the next weekend March 13th through March 15th. There is the Maryland Spring Craft show that runs simultaneously. The show opens at 10am each day and closes at 9pm on Friday and Saturdays and at 6pm on Sundays. The craft show closes an hour earlier than the garden show. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6-12, free for children under 6. Free Admission for Active Military, Police & Fire Employees with ID. Pizza Hut has some $1 off coupons.

Hhere is a link to a dollar off coupon:

Here is the link to the show:

I always enjoy a visit there, you can usually pick up some interesting primrose pots and some forsythia and pussy willow branches to force and bring spring inside a little early. I still have some Quick n Brite cleaners from a couple of years ago, it’s good stuff, and the home and garden show seems to be the only place to find the kind of mops with the rubber head, great for dust bunnies.

Photo credit, Brian Snelson.

Three free tools for parents peace of mind

February 5, 2009 by  
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Child SafetyDo your children use the Internet?

  • Do you worry about what they will find there?
  • Do you worry about everything getting messed up on your computer?
  • Do you think you should be keeping better track of what they use the Internet for?
  • Do your children find the browser confusing?

Here are three free tools that can be used together, or just pick and choose the ones you like. These tools solve different problems, but they all relate to improving the Internet experience for children. This website is not focused on technical how to instructions, but the tools are intended to empower our clients, and a safe Internet contributes to that goal. So, I will just describe a bit about what these tools are, and link to other places where you can get more information.

    •,, and are domain names. They are people friendly names that tell your browser how to find the webpages you are expecting. Each time you type into your browser address bar, a central directory is asked for the computer address which is like the zip code + 4 but for computers instead of homes. That central directory is called the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS system doesn’t know what content you are looking for, it just sends you robotically to the destination. If you have a misspelling or typo in the address, or you are clicking on a link in an email, you have a good chance of finding yourself in the seedier section of the Internet. was created as a middleman that tries to correct those misspellings or refuse your request and block your destination when that destination is some place you want to avoid. You can avoid phishing attacks which are mimick websites designed to look like trusted banks and similar sites so as to steel your bank and identity information. And, you can avoid the sites you don’t want your children finding on the Internet. There is a lot of power in this tool. Go to and find out more. Also How-To Geek has a tutorial that you may find useful.
  2. Surf Knight
    • Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, Opera, Chrome, etc. They are the browsers that you use to read the web. In many ways they have gotten more complicated over time, as the power of the Internet has grown. The experience for kids has not always improved. Surf Knight (Windows only) aims to be a browser just for kids. I quote: “Surf Knight is a web browser specially designed for kids! It includes a friendly design and parental controls that will empower the younger users with the latest technology, as well as protecting them from undesired content and malicious software.” You can read a review over at Mom’s Daily. You can go to to download the software free of charge.
  3. Microsoft SteadyState
    • Once you have your windows computer set up the way you want, you don’t have to dread that your child will wreak havoc and at best confuse your settings. You don’t have to, if you use the free software SteadyState from Microsoft. You can prevent or undo changes. Even the contents of your hard drive are safe. LifeHacker has a tutorial. Go to Microsoft to download the software.

Let us know if these tools helped you, or what tools you like to use, in the comments or feedback.

How to monitor your website or blog status

February 5, 2009 by  
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Google Uptime
I am proud of my website, but I can’t check that it is working around the clock, without a service to monitor it for me. There are many choices, but for now, I am using They offer a free service that anyone can use.

It is pretty simple. The basic steps are:

  1. Open an account
  2. Create an email contact
  3. Create an IM or SMS contact
  4. Create a test for your website address
  5. Verify that everything is working

My website status is now being checked automatically. When things go wrong, I am notified, so I can do something about it. If you ever notice a problem with my site, please email me or call me about it. Computers are helpful, but there is nothing better than people for knowing what is important. If you have a blog or website, sign up with, it’s free and gives you insight into your visitor’s experience.