Founded on October 24, 1984, by Chief Justice James F. Schneider of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Maryland and Philip Sherman, president of the MSBA`s Senior Counsel Section, the museum is filled with historical artifacts from the Baltimore bank and bar. The museum is managed by the non-profit Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation, Inc. and offers a self-guided walking tour. Elva Tillman, chair of the Baltimore City Bar Association`s history committee, said she hopes more exhibits can be added, including presentations showcasing the progress of women, minorities and the LGBT community in Baltimore`s legal space. The Museum of Baltimore Legal History unveiled Wednesday the latest improvements to its space at the Mitchell Courthouse, marking the first time the museum has been modernized in its 35-year history. The museum, located on the second floor of the Mitchell Courthouse in Room 243, housed the Baltimore Orphanage before taking possession of the Hall in 1984. The museum is now more accessible to people with disabilities after removing some kiosks that made it difficult to navigate. The screens have been moved from kiosks to hip-high touch screens, making them usable for wheelchair users. “It`s exciting because we have the potential audience integrated for the museum, because we have over 60,000 jurors who come to the district court every year,” DiPietro said. “On opening days, we literally have over 300 people in the lobby. We hope these improvements will make it more attractive for people to stop and spend a few moments at the museum.
The foundation, which financially supports the museum, has worked with the Baltimore Bar Association`s history committee to raise $30,000 for the project so far. The foundation still hopes to reach its fundraising goal of $60,000 and has agreed to double up to $30,000 in donations. More than 40 people attended the museum`s reopening ceremony on Wednesday, including a number of judges and others who helped fund the improvements. Museum highlights include a copper jury wheel used to select Baltimore City jurors in the 1960s, as well as exhibits depicting the history of Baltimore City courthouses, Supreme Bank judges, and pioneers and minorities of the Baltimore judiciary and bar. Other points of interest include The British Surrender at Yorktown, a mural commissioned in 1907 by renowned French muralist Jean-Paul Laurens, and an Ephraim Willard clock, which has been part of Baltimore`s Orphans` Court since at least 1810. Improvements include a new touchscreen to display historical photos and drawings of the courthouse and other city landmarks, as well as better ceiling lighting. Judge Michael DiPietro, president of the Baltimore City Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation, said he hopes the improvements will trigger an influx of visitors and jurors who choose to visit for a while. Outside the museum, another screen has also been installed, providing basic information and acknowledging the many donors. Tagged with: Mitchell Courthouse Legal Museum Upgrade Retired Justice James Schneider, left, speaks Wednesday at an unveiling ceremony at the Museum of Baltimore Legal History.
(The Daily Record/Louis Krauss) It was called “a treasure within a treasure” and “one of the finest courtrooms in Maryland.” .