Courtesy of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
Courtesy of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park will hold a two-day grand opening event this month for its new visitor center in Church Creek, Maryland.

The March 11-12 event, coordinated by the National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service, is open to the public and geared toward family-friendly activities.

“The story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad is one that captivates people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Josie Fernandez, acting superintendent of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park.

The center is the premier feature of the national and state park and includes state-of-the-art, green elements such as bio-retention ponds, rain barrels, and vegetative roofs. It houses an exhibit hall, museum store, information desk, research library and restrooms.

The exhibit features information about Tubman’s role as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and her work as a freedom fighter, humanitarian, leader and liberator.

Events will include programs with Harriet Tubman re-enactor Millicent Sparks, Harriet Haikus and creative writing workshops with National Park Service Centennial Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez and historian Tony Cohen of the Menare Foundation leading simulated underground railroad journeys around the legacy garden that reveal escape secrets used by Tubman and other freedom seekers.

Children’s activities will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. both days, including “Games Enslaved Children Played,” about the significance and history of games that enslaved children played and create their own piece of art to remember the park’s inaugural weekend. Junior Ranger activities are also available. Souvenir hats will be available while supplies last.

“Harriet Tubman is a true Maryland treasure and who remains relevant to this very day,” said Maryland Park Service Manager Dana Paterra. “Her path to freedom was wrought with peril but she persevered and overcame many struggles to become an American icon.”

Visitors coming to the site through Cambridge will have free parking and a free shuttle system is available at 410 Academy Street. The shuttle will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 11 only.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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