Try African crafts, listen to a poet

This year, Black History Month has offered Marylanders an array of art exhibits, lectures, concerts, dance presentations, plays, films, poetry slams and soul-food dinners to enjoy. It's been -- quite literally -- an eventful month. And it's not over yet. Some organizations and places, such as the Baltimore Public Works Museum, are celebrating black history as the month comes to a close.

This weekend, the Baltimore Public Works Museum is honoring African-American heritage with several family-friendly events and reduced admission. Visitors ages 6 and older will be admitted for $1. Children under 6 are always admitted free.


Beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the museum will offer a children's story time with a reading by poet and storyteller Robbie White Woodson of Camay Calloway Murphy's Can a Coal Scuttle Fly? The book tells the true story of Baltimorean and African-American artist Tom Miller, who, as a child, dreamed of becoming a professional artist. As a young boy, Miller discovered his talent for turning trash into art. The inspiring story encourages kids to dream and to fulfill their potential.

After story time, museumgoers can get artistic and make a craft out of recycled materials. Visitors can choose to make an African rain stick or an African mask. All materials will be provided.


To make the African rain stick, folks will start with paper-towel tubes and adorn them with recycled paper, beads, glitter, ribbons, crayon drawings and pictures taken from magazines and catalogs.

To create the African mask, recycled construction paper will be used as a base, with beads, bottle caps, recycled pictures, packing peanuts, shredded paper, glitter and crayon drawings available for embellishing.

The craft-making is appropriate for kids and adults. Young children should have parental supervision. Refreshments, including juice and cookies, will be served to all participants.

The museum shop will be open throughout the weekend, featuring unique recycled gifts from Africa. Items include a bicycle mobile, made in Kenya from recycled wire from car engines and telephones. Other items include tin bookmarks, made in Kenya from recycled sheets of tin from misprinted bottle caps, and a beer mug mobile, made in Kenya from old beverage cans and salvaged wire.

While at the museum, learn about the public works system in Baltimore through videos, interactive computer programs and exhibits. Visitors can explore the Streetscape exhibit with its reproduction of the underground pipes and tunnels that keep Baltimore draining properly. Visitors can also make a crayon-rubbing of one of Baltimore's manhole covers, or they can view the exhibit The Organic Machine: Sculpture by Andy Mezensky.

Black History Month events are at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Baltimore Public Works Museum, 751 Eastern Ave. $1 admission; free for ages under 6. Call 410-396-5565.

For more family events, see Page 38.