The Civil War is coming to HCC!

The Library at HCC and the Hays-Heighe House are sponsoring a book discussion on the Civil War, part of a grant received from the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The books to be discussed are:

*  “March” by Geraldine Brooks
* “Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam” by James McPherson
*  “America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries,” edited by Edward L. Ayers.

James Karmel, Ph.D., associate professor of history, will lead the discussion at each session.

Advanced registration and reading of the materials is required! Sign up for either the 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. time slots on the following days:

March 1, March 15, March 29, April 19 and May 3.

The discussions will be held at the Hays-Heighe House.

In addition, a tour of Tudor Hall will be available for participants in the discussion series on Thursday, April 12, at 12:30 p.m.

To register or for more information, call 443.412.2495 or email

Holiday Open House

Holiday Open House at the Hays-Heighe House
Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 1-6 p.m.

There will be light refreshments, colonial style music and decorations. 

This will also be the last chance to see the Herblock exhibit!

Digital Photo Preservation from LOC

Digital photographs are great! Using a point and shoot camera, or a fancy DSLR camera, allows you to take hundreds of pictures at a time - allowing you more opportunities to capture people and events, than with a traditional film camera.

Here are some tips from the Library of Congress for how to preserve the digital files of your photographs. Enjoy!

LOC Blog

HCC & Hays-Heighe to host Civil War book discussion

Our college has been mentioned in The Washington Post in regard to the ALA/NEH grant we received to host a book discussion on the Civil War.

Interested in participating? Contact the House to sign up!

Fall Open House

Open House
October 21, 4-7 p.m.

Enjoy fall decorations and light refreshments and harvest history. As night approaches, hear spooky tales and haunted history! 

Free and open to the public.    

African foodways and heritage garden talk

October 19, 11:30 a.m.
 Student Center 243
 Culinary historian and author Michael Twitty will present his research on three centuries of African foodways, tracing its origins from Africa to the Caribbean to the Chesapeake region. Mr. Twitty will illustrate his talk with vegetables and herbs from the African-American Heritage Display Garden growing between the Library and the Hays-Heighe House.
Sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council.
Light refreshments will be served.
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Salon at Hays-Heighe

Salon at Hays-Heighe
Discussions in the literary and artistic European tradition

September 29, 3:30-5 p.m. 
“What is a salon?”
presented by Colleen Webster

November 15, 3:30-5 p.m. 
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian*”
presented by Jodie Cleman
Book is available at HCC and HCPL libraries. Includes drawing for framed Native American poster!

Free and open to all. Light refreshments.
R.S.V.P. requested or 443.412.2495

Extra! Extra! See all about "Herblock"

The Hays-Heighe House will host a traveling exhibit on the works of Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block.

Our opening reception will take place during the Constitution Day events, on September 16, from 1-6 pm at the House. This event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be provided.

You can read more about the exhibit here:

The exhibit runs until December 13 and is a great inspiration for student projects. Stop by the House during our open hours, Tuesdays 1-3pm and Fridays 10-12!

Research: Part 3 - Libraries

My most recent research trip was to the Enoch Pratt Free Library at 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore. The Central Library was built in 1931 and is a beautiful building by itself; the Pratt Library system dates back to 1882.

It has databases for genealogy, African-American heritage, auto repair reference, small business and much more! The Pratt also has many digital collections, including ephemera such as maps, currency, and postcards, as well as collections on individuals such as Poe and H. L. Mencken. You can access the historical archives of The Baltimore Sun from 1837 and digital Sanborn fire insurance maps of Maryland from 1867.

The Pratt is no doubt an incredible resource center and it is located less than an hour away from our campus! But wait! Don't you have to live in Baltimore to be a member of the Free Library?

No! Anyone who lives in Maryland can apply for a library card from the Enoch Pratt Free Library!

It is a simple process and well worth your time in order to be able to access their resources, many of them remotely.

1. Fill out the online form. 

     (I'll admit  - I didn't do this ahead of time and it still worked out fine.)

2. Within 2 weeks, go to any Pratt location to complete the registration process
     a. Be sure to bring a photo ID with your current address on it.
     b. Bring your current county library card with you.  - This is important - it will allow you to enjoy full  privileges right away. You can check out up to 30 books on your first visit!

It's that simple!

I hope you take advantage of this opportunity and make a trip to the Pratt. Happy reading!

Ann S. Persson, House coordinator


Research: Part 2 - Online Searches

In between trips to the historical society and other institutions, I have been searching online for documents and photographs to add to information I am collecting on the Hays family, the Maryland militia, and Harford County during the first quarter of the 19th century.

There are many steps in the research process, and with many repositories offering collections online and digitized books, there are more ways than ever to find sources for your research topic. Although being in the stacks at the library or handling historic documents at the historic society is sometimes the only way to go to complete your project, there are options to explore without leaving your computer!

1. Learn to use your tools more effectively. 
Most people use Google as their default search engine, and there is nothing wrong with that. But take advantage of other options within the search engine you are already familiar with using. If you go to the ‘more’ section of Google, you’ll find Books and Scholar.

Google Books is a free search engine through books that have been digitized. Sometimes you’ll be able to see the entire book, other times you only will be allowed to see a preview of the book – usually the title page plus a few more pages. Google Scholar will find articles written in journals and other scholarly publications. This is a great way to narrow down your search to credible sources.

2. Expand your library catalog search. 
You’ve already explored your local library’s catalog and are familiar with its holdings. But did you know you can search catalogs of libraries across the nation or across the world? WorldCat allows you to search for books, articles, and even DVDs and CDs. With more than 10,000 libraries participating, there are 1.5 billion + items for you to search. Who knows? That survey book on the history of Harford County or an analysis of the newest isotope technology just might be sitting on the shelf at a library not more than 20 miles away from you! Even if the library that has your book might be located across the nation, remember, it might be possible to obtain it through InterLibrary Loan! WorldCat is even available as a mobile app.

3. Target accurate and scholarly websites.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the backlash against Wikipedia as a legitimate source for your research project. Like I mentioned in my first research blog, Wikipedia can be a great starting point on a topic you know nothing about, but it is limited.
If you are doing a straight Google search:
·          scan the results to weed out potentially harmful sites or hits that don’t include all of the terms you have entered.
·         Focus on sites that end in .net, .org or .gov. Many historical societies and state websites will end in these locators.
·         Choose what’s familiar. Often, magazines and television shows will have an online component to complement their programming. It is usually a better bet to read something posted by the History Channel than by (I made that up, but if you register that website you have to give me credit :) 

4. Search local public and academic libraries to see what digital collections are posted.
There are quite a few libraries around Baltimore that have posted part of their collections online, and it’s a good idea to get familiar with the strengths of their collections. You might not need any information on early 20th century child labor laws for your current project, but keep it in the back of your mind that UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library has the Lewis Hine photograph collection digitized.

Many institutions are also using content management systems to post collections digitally. You can search sites like CONTENTdm for other collections available online.

Hope this is enough to keep you going! I’ll post more soon!

Ann S. Persson, Hays-Heighe House coordinator

How to do research!

Have you been overwhelmed when assigned to do a research paper? Do you want to find out more about local history or genealogy, but just have no idea where to start? The fact is, doing research isn't complicated, if you break it down into smaller steps.

In this blog and following entries, I will be chronicling my experiences as I conduct research for the upcoming exhibit here at the Hays-Heighe House, tentatively entitled Prelude to War: Everyday Life in Harford County in 1811. My end result won't be a research paper that only the professor reads. My end result is a house full of panels that will be seen by hundreds of people for the next year! Talk about pressure....but the process is the same, whether you are writing a 5-page paper or designing an exhibit.

So where to start?

1. Get familiar with your surroundings.
     For my first research trip off-campus, I headed to the Historical Society of Harford County with two of the members from our advisory committee. I have been to the historical society many times in the past, but never with this new project in mind. It's easy to be lost in a new environment, so what to do?
          ASK!  for a short tour of the facility to find out where the materials are. This is also important to find out what they DON'T have. No point in wasting your time looking for a certain collection of photographs if that collection is at the Maryland Historical Society for example. (And the best way to get familiar with a place? Volunteer! The Historical Society or here at the Hays-Heighe would love to get your help, hint hint :)

2. Read up on secondary sources to help fill in the background information.
     You don't have to be an expert on any particular subject, you just need to know how to find out information on that topic. This is a great time to read published books that give an overall history of a person, place, or event. And places like historical societies and archives will have books that the public library probably won't have, books that have passages like this:

             They immediately surrounded the said English
             and discharged a volley of ten shots, killing the said
             John Fouster, and at a second volley wounded William
             Wigwell, notwithstanding which shot, they fought
             them three hours and made their retreat good, since
             which time the said Indians have killed eleven head of
             cattle and twenty head of hogs.
(History of Harford County, Maryland, Walter W. Preston, 1901)

Anyway, if you feel you must use Wikipedia to get information, now is the only time to do so! It doesn't count as a source in academia, but I will admit, it is a good place to go for clues to acceptable sources, and for those times when you have absolutely no idea what the topic is!

3. Narrow down your research questions.
     After reading the background sources, you should be in a better position to ask intelligent questions on your subject, or at least find a good point in which to settle your focus. Here is the "Goldilocks" moment: your topic can't be too broad or too narrow. It has to be just right!
     For example: if your topic is the War of 1812 in Maryland, this is pretty broad. There were a lot of counties established at that time and several battles and smaller campaigns, so you will be writing for pages.  If your topic is how Thomas Archer Hays served as quartermaster of the 40th regiment Maryland militia, this is too narrow. You will probably be able to write 2 paragraphs.

4. Doing good research means asking good questions.
     As you read and write and take notes (always remember to write out full citations and quotes), actively asking questions as you go along will help you do better research and write a better paper. As I went through the research process at the historical society, my focus shifted from just the Hays family - to the relation between the people listed on the 1810 census and how the militia was organized into jurisdictions. But then figuring that out will necessitate my going back to the Hays family listed in 1810. So remember: research is a back and forth process between asking questions, finding out the answer, and then asking more questions of the original research. It can be frustrating, but you will come away with a deeper understanding of the material and better focused on your critical thinking skills!

So that was my first blog on the exhibit research process. Join me next time for Part 2!

Ann S. Persson, Hays-Heighe House coordinator

The importance of the past

Take a look at this article in The Baltimore Sun, which details how two men attempted to steal historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society, among other institutions. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Last year, thefts were discovered at the National Archives by a former employee, and also a former security adviser.
These documents are part of the history of our nation and should be preserved for all.

The House was awarded by a county commission!

We are very excited to announce that the Hays-Heighe House was given a preservation project award from the Harford County Historic Preservation Commission. Dr. Golladay accepted the award and recognized the investment and support from the many people involved with the House over the past four years. Read more about it here:

If you want to become involved with this historic site, contact the coordinator to volunteer!

And if you are graduating, stop by the House between 4-6 PM on May 19th, to tour the House and see the building where the college began!

A Quiet Place to Study!

Looking for a quiet place to study for finals?
You are invited to UNPLUG and enjoy the historic setting of the Hays-Heighe House as you prepare for exams.
Rooms 104 and 205 are available for quiet, individual study for reading and writing. So leave the computer and cellphone behind and come over!
Thursday, May 5, 10am-3pm
Friday, May 6, 10am-2pm

Student Project Showcase 2011

Stop by the Hays-Heighe House to view some fantastic student projects! In our first annual showcase of student projects, we are displaying assignments students have completed using the House as inspiration. We have project boards from Building, Preservation & Restoration, as well as design boards from Residential Interiors.

As always, we are open Tuesdays 1-3 pm and Fridays 10am-12pm, so be sure to drop in and check out the new displays. You might just be inspired for your next assignment!

Spring is in the air!

Most of the winter weather has gone away and there are a few hints of spring in the air. One of the last rain and wind storms damaged two large evergreen trees on the front lawn of the House. More than 100 years old, the trees had internal rotting and couldn't withstand the inclement weather. But pieces of the tree will be preserved and used to document and add to our knowledge of the history of the House.

One of the fallen trees with the spring house in the background. 

The spring house is one of the projects that students from the Building Preservation & Restoration program worked on in past years. Several of their projects, along with the work of current HCC students will be showcased in our annual exhibit of student work.

We are excited to display projects in which students have used the Hays-Heighe House as inspiration. Join us after spring break, when the new exhibit will open. You'll be able to see a variety of projects and maybe get inspired yourself to use the House as a theme for your next assignment!

Check back on our blog for more information on the exhibit opening and other special events.

Closing Reception and March program

The closing reception for the Great Blacks in Wax exhibit will be on Monday, February 28th, from 6-9 PM. Please stop by for light refreshments and to say goodbye to our two friends! There will be a History BEE challenge, a movie showing on the life of Zora Neale Hurston, and an original composition to Langston Hughes' Passing by Mr. Benny Russell.


Due to a large amount of interest, the afternoon of Irish poetry and song will be held in Room 243 of the Student Center.

Our new guests at the Hays-Heighe House

The exhibit opening last week for the Great Blacks in Wax display was a success! We will be hosting our friends Zora Neal Hurston and Dr. Carter G. Woodson for the rest of this month. Please see the previous post for information on all the great programs the college is sponsoring.

Volunteers needed for February!

The Hays-Heighe House will be busy in February! We are set to host two figures from the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore for the entire month. And as part of this new exhibit, we will host fantastic programs and an opening reception.

* Feb. 3rd: 1-6 p.m. Opening Reception
         2 p.m. "Passing" and original composition by Benny Russell

* Feb. 15th: 12 p.m. "More than a Museum" lecture by Dr. Joanne Martin

* Feb. 17th 1 and 7 p.m. "Soul of Langston" in Chesapeake Theater,
          with extended open hours from 11a.m.-1p.m. and 5-7p.m.

* Feb. 28th: 6-9 p.m. extended open hours for exhibit

All of these events are free and open to the public. If you want to gain experience as a docent (great on your resume or CV!) or help with setting up or taking down the exhibit, please contact the Coordinator at 443.412.2495.

See you in February!

New for the spring

The decorations have been removed but there is still much to see at the Hays-Heighe House! Our inaugural exhibit, Made by Hand, will be on display for only a few more weeks, so be sure to see it before some panels are removed!
We are making room for exciting new displays, including figures on loan from the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, and a showcase of student projects.
The open hours are the same for the spring, Tuesdays 1-3 PM and Fridays 10AM -Noon. Check the blog for updates on these exhibits and stop by for a break from classes and the office!