Friday, November 18, 2005

Fieldtrip: Slavic Baltimore

Judging from google searches, the biggest Slavic group in Baltimore would seem to be the Czechs. Major organizations include the Czech and Slovak Heritage Association, the Bohemian National Cemetery and a Sokol.

The Maryland Historical Society also has a special Poles are also well-organized in Baltimore, with the Polish Community of Baltimore and the Archives of Maryland Polonia. And there are a few options for Polish- and Ukrainian-style pierogies ( Citypaper: Where, oh Where are Baltimore's Pierogie?).

The Slovene presence seems to have dwindled down to just the Slovene Center Bowling Lanes & Ballroom, while refugees from elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia are breathing new life into neglected neighborhoods (Citypaper: East Side Story).

Rivaling the Czechs for a Baltimore-based web presence are the Russians (check out Citypaper: Moscow Nights: Getting Down With Baltimore's Burgeoning Eastern Bloc). There is a community site, Russian Baltimore, and there is also the Baltimore Russian Festival. Baltimore is also home to a traditional folk dance troup, Kalinka, and the Crazy Russian strip club (though it isn't clear whether there is actually anything Russian about it).

The main reason for Slavic New Yorkers to make the haul down to Baltimore this winter, though, is
Sacred Arts and City Life: The Glory of Medieval Novgorod, at the Walters Art Museum from 19 November through 12 February 2006.

Novgorod, about 100 miles south of St. Petersburg, is Russia's oldest city, settled as early as 895 A.D. Its soil is particularly good for preserving organic materials, making the entire city a treasure trove for archeologists.

The Walters Art Museum is the only American venue to see this exhibit, featuring art and artifacts culled from the collections of the the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the Novgorod Museum Federation.

Nearly 300 objects are on display, including 35 medieval icons, ecclesiastical objects, carved wood and bone, leather goods, jewelry, musical instruments, and - perhaps the most important artifacts from Novgorod - birchbark documents. There will also be large photograhic murals documenting archeological digs in the city. The exhibit covers the 9th through 16th centuries. More info here.

The Walters Art Museum is organizing events in conjunction with the exhibit, including:

Check out the New York Times review, 'Sacred Arts and City Life.'

Previously on Slavs of New York! New York Times Fall Preview

(Map from; Photo (below): St. George and the Dragon," State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg)


jaime said...

Yes - the Crazy Russian is quite Russian! This year will be the second time we go for the hubby's b-day...Valeria and her husband are full-blooded immigrants, and some of the ladies are from Russia, too.

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