Montgomery Parks is offering a diverse selection of educational and entertaining programs to celebrate Black History Month. “Montgomery Parks not only has an exciting lineup of events for Black History Month, we also have year-round offerings focused on African American history and culture,” said Shirl Spicer, cultural resources museums manager at Montgomery Parks. “We invite visitors to take advantage of these resources throughout the year, not just in February.”
Unshakable: The Rise of Newmantown at the Agricultural History Farm Park | Every Friday and Saturday in February | 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Agricultural History Farm Park, 18400 Muncaster Road, Derwood, MD 20855 The exhibit “Unshakable” explores the history of Albert and Mary Newman, freedmen who emigrated in 1862 from Virginia to Montgomery County, Md., and became landowning farmers despite unprecedented circumstances. Albert and Mary Newman, and their children, built a thriving African American kinship community known as “Newmantown,” located on the grounds of the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood. The exhibit showcases photographs, documents, family mementos, local history, and rarely seen artifacts excavated from the site. Free.
Black History Month Family Day | February 18 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, 16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860 Bring the whole family and enjoy a self-guided exploration of Montgomery County’s Black history at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. Stop by the Visitor Center to pick up take-home activities (for ages 5-12) and trail maps to explore the Underground Railroad Experience Trail. All ages. Free.
When the Stars Align: Celestial Navigation and the Underground Railroad | February 25 | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Josiah Henson Museum and Park, 11410 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852 Learn about the crucial role of the night sky in guiding and empowering freedom seekers in their perilous journeys north along the Underground Railroad. With guest speakers, historian Dr. Sylvea Hollis, astronomer Dr. Lou Strolger and Ph.D. candidate Sophie Hess. Ages 6 and older. (Registration for this program is full but there will be a limited number of seats available on a first-come, first-served basis). Free.
African American history year-round at Montgomery Parks: Montgomery Parks is home to several facilities dedicated to the history of African Americans in the county. The Josiah Henson Museum and Park is the first museum in the United States dedicated to Reverend Josiah Henson. Located on the grounds of the former plantation where Henson was enslaved prior to self-emancipating to Canada, the site includes a visitor center, a historic house with an attached log kitchen dating to 1850, and a 4-acre landscaped park with accessible walking paths.
Indoor and outdoor interpretive exhibits throughout the property detail Henson’s inspirational life story, enslavement in Maryland, and the ongoing struggles for racial equality and justice. The park is part of the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program. Hours: Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. ‒ 4pm, Sunday 12 p.m. ‒ 4 p.m. Admission: $5 (adults); $4 (kids, 6-17); $4 (seniors); Free (5 and under)
Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park is a living history museum that promotes awareness of and education about the Reconstruction Era and the free Black rural communities that appeared after the Civil War. In addition to the cabin, which is located on a former farm and plantation, the site includes the .7-mile natural surface Oakley Cabin Trail. Hours: The second and fourth Saturdays, April through October 12 ‒ 4 p.m.
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park is a glimpse into Montgomery County’s agricultural past. The park, which is located on historic grounds, features the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, the Woodlawn Museum housed in the 1832 stone barn, and the Federal-era Woodlawn Manor House, which dates to the early 1800s. The park is part of the Rachel Carson Greenway and the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.
Hours: Woodlawn Museum and Visitor Center, April through November, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday 12 – 4 p.m. Admission: $5 (adults); $4 (kids 6-17); $4 (seniors); Free (5 and under) Woodlawn Manor House is closed for renovations and will be reopening for guided tours and business meeting rentals later in 2023.
Trail and park grounds are open sunrise to sunset.