The Chesapeake we know, the Chesapeake we love, the Chesapeake we remember is the summertime Chesapeake. When a dip on a hot day leaves a salt line on your bathing suit as it dries, and the heated air pushes sailboats ahead of thunderstorms in a white crest. June, July and August along the Bay means fat, sweet crabs, harbors teeming with sails and engines, and bare feet in all the places they’re normally frowned upon.

Simple things change little here, and pleasures like chicken necking for crabs with a few buddies,a picnic under a shady tree, and running a little wild with a pack of friends while the sun sets late are timeless.

In our collections, we have boxes of snapshots like these, meant to preserve for ever the magical fleeting moments that flash in the past like lightning bugs in a jelly jar. Intimate and shockingly modern, they remind us that as they are, so too are we- our digital lives in fully saturated color will one day be as thrown back as this sweetly sentimental array. But they also remain as legacies of the Chesapeake that was, and echo strongly in the Chesapeake that is. 

It’s true, that saying- take a picture. It’ll last longer.

All photographs, collections of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.