Numerous depictions of Harriet Tubman tell the story of every stage in her life and are paired with interactive exhibits at the visitor center. (Photos by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)
The narrative begins with Tubman's birth into slavery around 1822.
Sculpture and audio add dimension to the educational experience.
The park also includes trails, a meditation garden and a native meadow and wetlands that helps treat stormwater from the visitor center building.
A red-winged blackbird visits wetlands installed along a trail outside the visitor center.
Cyclists ride on Golden Hill Road, which separates the park from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge offers a driving tour of Wildlife Drive, where visitors can stop to take in views from a boardwalk overlooking the marsh.
The park has proven popular since opening in March of 2017. That year over 100,000 people visited.
Students’ artwork is on display at the visitor center.
As visitors exit, they see pass a statue of Tubman in her later years.
by Will Parson
February 07, 2020
Over a century after her death, the landscape of Maryland’s Eastern Shore still bears the memories of Harriet Tubman.
Visitors to Dorchester County can stand at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and imagine a young Tubman (born Araminta Ross) trapping muskrats in the frigid water. They can visit the Bucktown Village store where as an adolescent she was struck in the head by a two-pound weight and nearly killed. And they can drive along flat farm fields and imagine her repeated journeys through the countryside as she freed dozens of other enslaved Americans.
These landmarks are part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which spans 125 miles and 36 historical sites. At the byway’s trailhead, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center offers a museum experience dedicated to the life story of the abolitionist.
The visitor center, which is shared by the National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service, is part of the 17-acre Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, and is just barely over a mile from the visitor center at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The two visitor centers are linked by both trails and programming, so visiting the two together provides a strong overview of the area’s natural and historical legacy.
About Will Parson - Will produces digital stories for the Chesapeake Bay Program. He studied ecology and evolution at University of California, San Diego. He reported on water and the environment as a graduate student at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication, and worked at newspapers in New England before landing in Maryland.