The Center grew out of a request from the community for a place where the increasing numbers of tourists could learn about the Island, its history, economic and social life. Tourists visit the Island at the residents’ busiest time–the crabbing season–and residents naturally find it difficult to respond to requests for information on a casual basis. They wanted to focus and structure the tourists visits. Residents are also quite aware that change is occurring in this tiny isolated community and there is a need to preserve and protect their history and heritage. It is now uncertain that children can follow their parents to work on the water and there is little opportunity for other employment in their community. As family homes are vacated, they are often purchased as summer homes by outsiders.
Much-needed services for visitors to the Island (estimated to be more than 5,000 people a year), and a museum, the first interpretive work in a unique community which began as a farming community and turned to working on the water when land conditions no longer supported farming.
Research by scholars from several universities, the Maryland Historical Trust and lifetime residents developed the material for a film and supporting exhibits entitled Land and Water, People and Time.