Harford Community College exhibit, programs celebrate Aberdeen Proving Ground's 100 years

Aberdeen Proving Ground was established in Harford County in 1917

For 100 years, Aberdeen Proving Ground has been a major economic and social force in Harford County and a new exhibit, APG as Catalyst: Harford County's Changing Landscape, opens on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at Harford Community College to commemorate the anniversary with "a scholarly, balanced and humanistic exploration of how APG's presence has shaped the lives, histories, economy and culture of Harford Countians."

The exhibit will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. in the Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College. After the opening, the exhibit will run through May 31 and will be open Tuesdays, 1 to 3 p.m., Thursdays, 3 to 5 p.m., Fridays, 10 a.m. to noon and the first Saturdays of the month, 10 a.m. to noon. It will be closed for spring break March 26 to April 2.

In conjunction with the exhibition opening, Jeff Smart, command historian RDECOM, will present "APG: Historical Highlights" at the Hays-Heighe House on Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. and again at 5 p.m. There is no admission fee for the presentation; however, seating is limited. To reserve a seat, call 443-412-2539 or email haysheighe@harford.edu (and specific time).

Aberdeen Proving Ground was established in Harford County in 1917, just after the United States entered World War I, and is the oldest proving ground still in operation. The military originally used the northeastern end near Aberdeen for testing ordnance, and produced chemical weapons at Edgewood Arsenal on Gunpowder Neck. Over time the work has expanded to research, testing and evaluation of all sorts of war materiel, and into chemical and biological defense.

Along the coastline, the proving ground separates most of Harford County from the Chesapeake Bay. While it may have hastened the demise of the local canning industry, from its very founding in 1917 and for its 100 years of history, APG has been a major economic engine for the region. As well as employing more than 21,000 civilians, military personnel and private contractors, APG has stimulated construction of housing, schools and roads, and generated demand for local services.

Developed by the Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College, the APG as Catalyst exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of APG. Join in honoring the commitment of the military installations and defense contractors at APG to defending our nation.

This winter and spring, Hays-Heighe House has planned several other events around the APG theme including a living history presentation featuring "Rosie the Riveter" (interpreted by Mary Ann Jung), community discussions, a military tea, a panel presentation, a slide presentation on "The Habitat History of Aberdeen Proving Ground" and lectures on such topics as "Eminent Domain," "Stress on the Home Front: Life of a Military Family," "Casus Belli: The United States Enters World War I," "The Domestic Architecture of Aberdeen's Canning Dynasties," "A Natural Habitat Managed Well: APG & the Environment," "Chemical Weapons in World War I and Beyond" and "Gun Clubs and Waterfowling in the Upper Chesapeake Region."

Other events that will commemorate the APG anniversary include:

Feb. 14 and March 21 – Military Tea, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Hays-Heighe House, Room 101; $15 per person; free to HCC students with ID.

Feb. 21 - How Imminent is Eminent Domain? Protecting Your Backyard from the Likes of William the Conqueror, the Magna Carta, and the Fifth Amendment, lecture presented by: AnnMarie Profili, paralegal studies coordinator at HCC; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

Feb. 28 - I Remember When: Uprooting and Relocating, community discussion moderated by Iris Barnes, curator, and Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum and executive director, Hosanna School Museum; 12:30 to 2 p.m.; Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

March 2 - Stress on the Home Front: Life of a Military Family, lecture presented by Regina Roof-Ray, assistant professor of psychology at HCC; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

March 9 - Rosie the Riveter, living history presentation interpreted by Mary Ann Jung, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Student Center, room 243.

March 15 - I Remember When: Women at Work, community discussion moderated by Sharon Stowers, Ph.D., professor of sociology and anthropology at HCC, 12:30 to 20 p.m.; Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

April 6 - Casus Belli: The United States Enters World War I, lecture presented by Andrew Kellett, Ph.D., associate professor of history at HCC; 12:30 to 2 p.m.; Student Center, room 243.

April 13 - The Domestic Architecture of Aberdeen's Canning Dynasties, lecture presented by Jacob Bensen, local historian; 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

April 21 - A Natural Habitat Managed Well: APG & the Environment, lecture presented by APG Natural Resources Branch; 12:30 to 1:45 p.m., Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

April 25 - Chemical Weapons in World War I and Beyond, lecture presented by Jeff Smart, command historian RDECOM, 12:30\ to –1:30 p.m., Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

May 4 - Gun Clubs and Waterfowling in the Upper Chesapeake Region, lecture presented by C. John Sullivan, waterfowling historian; 12:30 to 1:45 p.m., Hays-Heighe House, Room 201.

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