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Exhibition opens at UMD in College Park to salute Maryland Public Television’s 50 years of service

Hornbake Library gallery hosts “Made Possible By Viewers Like You: Maryland Public Television Turns 50” exhibition through July 2020

October 4, 2019

For immediate release

OWINGS MILLS, MD – Shining Emmy® Award statuettes, a decades-old TV field camera, aging black-and-white photos, and vintage video clips.  These items and more are features of a museum-quality exhibition titled Made Possible By Viewers Like You: Maryland Public Television Turns 50, now on display in the University of Maryland’s Hornbake Library Maryland Room Gallery in College Park. The opening of the exhibition coincides with the statewide public television network’s debut on October 5, 1969.

Open to the public free of charge, the exhibition will remain in the gallery through July 2020. Hornbake Library operating hours during the university’s fall and spring semesters are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. The gallery is also open on Sundays from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Curated by archivists from UMD Libraries’ Special Collections & University Archives in collaboration with MPT, the exhibition traces the five-decade history of the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting – later Maryland Public Television – and its service to the citizens of the Free State and beyond.

To watch a short preview of the exhibition produced by MPT’s State Circle public affairs program, visit https://youtu.be/4vDXPjjGuxk. The segment includes visuals of the exhibition’s many artifacts as well as an interview with its curator, Laura Schnitker, Ph.D. More information is available at mpt.org/50th or lib.umd.edu/mpt-turns-50.

Among artifacts on display are microphones, studio lighting fixtures, and broadcasting equipment – old and new – including an original field camera and a current-day GoPro camera.  Also in the exhibit are logo-bearing premiums from promotions and pledge shows through the years plus awards and statuettes – Emmys, Webbys, and Tellys among them. The archivists have included a copy of Nightmare’s Child, the first program to air on the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting at 6:30 p.m. on October 5, 1969, and decades-old newspaper articles about the newly arrived public TV phenomena in Maryland.

All exhibit items are accompanied by explanatory copy that tells the story of the early “pioneers” on the network’s Owings Mills, Maryland campus whose creative exploits – produced for decades without computer assistance – yielded hundreds of remarkable documentaries and TV series.

The exhibit creators tell the story of MPT’s history by highlighting program genres – from news/public affairs and children’s programming to arts/culture and natural history. The featured video clips from MPT’s most popular programs over the decades will be especially enjoyable to older viewers who recall viewing Hodgepodge Lodge as children or financial news devotees who relished time spent with Wall $treet Week With Louis Rukeyser on Friday evenings.

For nearly 30 years, Maryland Public Television has partnered with the University of Maryland Libraries to contribute print and audio-visual materials to the National Public Broadcasting Archives. In honor of MPT’s 50th anniversary and to continue making accessible the significant historical content created by MPT, the organizations have strengthened their cooperation by launching The Maryland Public Television Preservation Fund. Donations to the fund help support ongoing digitization of the many analog tapes that remain in the MPT collection, which are housed at the university but must be transferred to digital format to be accessed by the viewing public. Digitized programs held by the University of Maryland Libraries are made available for online viewing through the university’s Digital Collections website.


About MPT

Launched in 1969 and headquartered in Owings Mills, MD, Maryland Public Television is a nonprofit, state-licensed public television network and member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).  MPT’s six transmitters cover Maryland plus portions of contiguous states and the District of Columbia.  Frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards, MPT creates local, regional, and national television shows.  Beyond broadcast, MPT’s commitment to professional educators, parents, caregivers, and learners of all ages is delivered through year-round instructional events and the super-website Thinkport, which garners in excess of five million page views annually.  MPT’s community engagement connects viewers with local resources on significant health, education, and public interest topics through year-round outreach events, viewer forums, program screenings, and phone bank call-in opportunities.  For more information visit mpt.org.

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Tom Williams, APR | tomwilliams@mpt.org | 410-581-4031

Ari Hamilton-Gery | ahamilton@nevinspr.com | 410-568-8807

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