Hundreds celebrate King holiday at Baltimore museum

Duane Geddie, of Pasadena, shows off his tickets to the presidential inauguration ceremony.
Duane Geddie, of Pasadena, shows off his tickets to the presidential inauguration ceremony.(Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)

Children used paper plates, yarn, feathers and beads to make dream catchers decorated with words and phrases like "hope" and "I have a dream" to celebrate the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday while their parents watched President Barack Obama's inauguration on a big-screen television.

To Terry Taylor, the dual celebration at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum was a full-circle moment.

"People seemed pretty excited; they cheered when Barack took the oath. They were clapping and stomping their feet," said Taylor, education programs coordinator at the museum. She said the gravity of the moment struck her as she read a story about King to a group of children.

"This is one of the end results of his dream," Taylor said.

Over the holiday weekend, more than 700 people visited the African-American history and culture museum for a series of events that culminated with the inaugural viewing and crafts and storytelling sessions.

One of the highlights was the opening reception for "Defining Moments: An Exhibition of Works" on Saturday. The exhibit features 40 watercolors by Pocomoke City native Bryan Collier from seven of his children's books, including renderings of King, Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes and John Lennon. The exhibit runs until May 26.

"It is my goal that you leave this exhibition with a passion to learn more about this country's great history," Collier said in a statement.

Taylor said she was excited to see families lined up outside the museum before it opened at 10 a.m. Monday. Despite the country's gains since King's lifetime, she said children can learn valuable lessons in recounting history, such as the Montgomery bus boycott.

"I talked about the everyday people who marched with him; he couldn't do it alone," Taylor said. "It was the average citizen who decided to march along with him. I think the kids got that."