The Evolution of Energy on the Cheseapeake: From Indian Settlements to the Present

Press Release – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Phillip Hesser, PhD will lead a 4 week course for the Academy for Lifelong Learning CBMM entitled “Calories, Kilowatts and Beyond: The Evolution of Energy on the Chesapeake Bay”.  The course will run Tuesday mornings from January 17- February 7.

The course will examine the history of energy on the Chesapeake and its watershed with special reference to the human and natural environment of Talbot County and the Eastern Shore. Topics will include: 1) Calories Do Count: Humans, Animals and their Labor; 2) Taming the Waters, Winds, and Tides: Sails, Mills, and Canals; 3) The First Multipliers: Steam, Oil, and their Sources; and 4) Tapping the Watershed and the Sun: Coal, Petroleum, the Atom, and the New Solar Sources. Participants in the Course will explore how the evolution of new energy sources has shaped development and our future on the Bay The “excellent and very advantageous” “situation of the country” (as one chronicler described the Chesapeake shores) supplied energies that produced plenty and prosperity from the earliest Indian settlements to the communities of the present day. The course will explore the questions: what can we learn about life and livelihood on the Bay from the changing nature of those energy sources that transformed the land and shaped the destiny of its people? And, what can we learn about the future of the land, its life and its people from these changes?

Phillip Hesser, Ph.D., taught world history and civilization in the United States and Africa before advancing education and leadership in Africa as a program officer and director with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Academy for Educational Development (a global nongovernmental organization). Living “Down Below” in Dorchester County, he can be found teaching at Salisbury University and Chesapeake College; running the roads across the marshes with retrievers Duke , Bella, and Marshall; or working on Sitting in Limbo: Life and Livelihood on the Tumps of Chesapeake Bay, a deep history of his community.

For more detailed information about this course and the Academy for Lifelong Learning, call the CBMM at 410-745-2916 or download a catalog online at Also on Facebook at for lifelong learning at cbmm.

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