Maryland Emancipation Day Weekend with Montgomery Parks


Election anxiety got you down? Looking for educational activities with the family that teach of a time when our country righted its wrongs? The line-up of family events hosted by Montgomery Parks this weekend, November 4-6, fits the bill.

These historic learning opportunities celebrate Maryland Emancipation Day at historic sites throughout the county. On November 1, 1864, a Maryland state constitution freed all those held in bondage within its boundaries, abolishing slavery on the state level. Share these offerings with your children that thoughtfully, appropriately and significantly teach this historic landmark.

Park events on Saturday and Sunday are FREE, unless otherwise noted, and open to the public.



Underground Railroad Experience Guided Hike – 9am, 10am, 10:30am, Sandy Spring. This all-ages 2.5 hour hike is led by talented volunteer “conductors” who lead groups on a simulated Underground Railroad experience covering 2 miles from Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park along a wooded, natural surface trail to the historic Sandy Spring, then back to the park. Hikers will learn about various techniques that freedom seekers used to elude trackers, find food, and navigate their way North to freedom. Sign up details.

Woodlawn Visitor Center Open House – 10am-4pm, Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, Sandy Spring. The newly-opened Woodlawn Visitor Center’s is not to be missed! The museum-quality exhibits in the restored stone barn tell the story of a bustling farm, its community, and those who made a bold bid for freedom on the Underground Railroad, guided by local Quakers. (See image above for an inside peek.)

Oakley Cabin African American History Museum, Farm and Park – 12-4pm, Brookeville. This home site of a free African American family will provide re-enactment learning with a Black history perspective, live music, johnny-cake making and more historic demonstrations. This is one of our family’s favorite learning trips, pictured below.

Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery – 11am-3pm, storytelling at 12pm, film at 1:30pm, Sandy Spring. Free admission for self-guided tours all day, food and drinks for sale. At noon storyteller Dianne Cross will present “A Long Overdue Story,” a story of the life of her great-grandfather who journeyed from slave, to Civil War soldier, to free man. At 1:30pm the hour-long documentary Community Cornerstones: African Americans in Montgomery County will be presented. This film presents reminiscences by elders from 5 historic African American churches and illustrates life during segregation.

Harper Cabin at Brookside Nature Center  – 10am-4pm, Wheaton. Step back in time at the 1870s at the Harper Homestead. Tour the cabin and experience demonstrations.

Button Farm Living History Center – 12-4pm, Germantown. Self-guided walking tours of our farm, animals and gardens. Scavenger hunt, bonfire and drinks and living history activities.


Josiah Henson Park Open House – 12-4pm, North Bethesda. Open for special events only, the Josiah Henson Park is the former plantation property of Isaac Riley where Reverend Josiah Henson was enslaved from 1795-1830. It is also a historic resource of local, state, national and international significance because of its association with Reverend Josiah Henson, whose 1849 autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Activities at Josiah Henson Park will include guided tours, hands-on archaeology activities and screenings of the Time Team America documentary: “The Search for Josiah Henson.”

Underground Railroad Experience Guided Hike – 10am, Sandy Spring. (Info above.)

Woodlawn Visitor Center Open House – 10am-4pm, Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, Sandy Spring. (Info above.)

Harper Cabin at Brookside Nature Center  – 1-4pm, Wheaton. (Info above.)

This is the final event weekend of the 2016 History in the Parks season. Group Tours & School Fieldtrips can be reserved year-round. The 2017 History in the Parks event season will restart the first weekend in April.

Leave a Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.