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Exhibit: Maryland: ‘A House Divided’

As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is marked, expect to be inundated with history. The Surratt House Museum in Maryland has a very special story to tell. It was the home of Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator of Confederate assassin John Wilkes Booth and the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government for treason. Its “Maryland: A House Divided” exhibit will talk about Maryland’s unique role as a state that nearly tore itself in two during the war. There were farmers in the state who had freed their slaves decades before the war broke out and thus allied themselves with the Union. But there also were powerful politicians throughout the state who refused to allow safe passage for the Union troops, going so far as to destroy rail lines and open fire on Massachusetts troops as they moved south. While the state stayed under Union control, it did so with no small amount of bloodshed.

Through Dec. 16 at the Surratt House Museum, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, Md.

Phone: 301/868-1121


Concert: Good Time Jazz Band

Culture critic and Spy magazine founder Kurt Andersen recently opined in Vanity Fair that the last decade of American music bore witness to an end of innovation and the recycling of themes past. To Mr. Andersen, who sees no difference between Lady Gaga and Madonna or Adele and Mariah Carey, this is a bad thing. To jazz fans, it is a godsend. By the end of the ‘90s, jazz was in a very ugly place. Labels had stopped investing in new records by good performers and instead were relying on back catalogs to satisfy traditionalists and no-name studio players to satisfy the smooth-jazz crowd. Thanks to the Internet, old jazz has an audience again. Thanks to the Smithsonian, it has an audience right here in the District. The Good Time Jazz Band, a Dixieland ensemble complete with clarinet and trombone, will play.

Friday at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW