Bar Bulletin

December, 2004

A Treasure Within a Treasure
~Museum celebrates Baltimore's rich legal history
(and two decades of its own)~

Left to right: Joseph K. Pokempner, Baltimore Courthouse
and Law Museum Foundation; Michael J. Baxter, President,
Baltimore Courthouse & Law Museum Foundation;
Philip Sherman, Museum Co-Founder;
Michael I Gordon, Bar Association of Baltimore City

It has been called “a treasure within a treasure” and “one of the most beautiful courtrooms in Maryland”. And on October 22, the Museum of Baltimore Legal History, housed in Room 243 of the century-old Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., Courthouse in downtown Baltimore, celebrated its 20th anniversary with an open house.

Founded on October 24, 1984 by Chief Judge James F. Schneider, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Maryland, and Philip Sherman, Chair of the MSBA Senior Lawyers Section, the museum is filled with historical artifacts of Baltimore’s Bench and Bar. Managed by the nonprofit Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation, Inc., the museum features a self-guided walk-through tour. Museum highlights include a copper jury wheel, used for the selection of jurors in Baltimore City through the 1960s, as well as displays outlining the history of Baltimore City courthouses, judges of the Supreme Bench and pioneering women and minorities of the Baltimore Bench and Bar. Other points of interest include The British Surrender at Yorktown, a mural commissioned in 1907 to world-renowned French muralist Jean-Paul Laurens, and an Ephraim Willard Tall Case Clock, a Baltimore Orphans Court fixture since at least 1810.

The courtroom itself, richly decorated in West Indian mahogany wainscoting and parquet flooring, formerly served as the Orphans Court of Baltimore City from 1900 to 1977.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: December, 2004

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