The Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) will present a free online program on Thursday, June 24 at 7pm that uses material from the BMI’s collections and archives to tell the story of how Baltimore became a shipbuilding power that produced one of Baltimore’s most historically significant artifacts, the S.S. John W. Brown.

This program is part of the BMI’s Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, a multiyear initiative to document and preserve the stories of the local steelmaking giant and the surrounding community.  At its height, its Sparrows Point mill was the largest steel producer in the world, making steel for bridges, buildings, and railroads.  What many people do not know is that Bethlehem Steel also built ships. This online program is free to attend, though advanced registration is required. Click here to register.

The Brown is a tangible part of the Bethlehem Steel story and one of only two surviving fully operational Liberty ships preserved in the United States. Today, she educates people about how American industry fueled victory in WWII, about the merchant mariners and naval personnel who sailed Liberty ships, and about the 35,000 men and women shipbuilders at Bethlehem Steel that made the logistical miracle of the war possible.

A total of 384 Liberty Ships were built in Baltimore to serve during WWII. The S.S. John W. Brown is the only one that continues to be of service in the city where she was launched.

The 30-minute program will feature:

  • The Shipyards of Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore: BMI Volunteer Ken Jones provides a brief history of Bethlehem Steel’s Baltimore shipyards.
  • A Peek at the Plans: BMI volunteer Bob Pratt shares highlights from the BMI’s collection of 35,000 ship plans.
  • All Hands on Deck: Volunteers from the John W. Brown share the history of the Brown’s service and give viewers a glimpse of what they can see this summer, when they are able to visit the WWII vessel in person.
  • Glimpse the Next Generation of Historians:  Harford County 7th grader Sophia, one of the Brown’s youngest volunteers, encourages young viewers and students to learn about World War II history through a series of YouTube videos.

This online program is free to attend.  Advanced registration is required.


The BMI will reopen to the public on Saturday, July 3, 2021.  The museum is located at 1415 Key Highway, Baltimore, MD 21230.  General museum information can be found at

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