Heritage Days

Each year, Heritage Montgomery hosts the annual Heritage Days Celebration on the last weekend in June. Sponsored by Heritage Montgomery since 2004, this unique, countywide festival offers visitors the opportunity to discover venues from Silver Spring to Poolesville, Bethesda to Clarksburg – and everywhere in between. Learn about the history of dairy farming, railroads and trolleys, African-American communities, astronomy, local arts & culture, and outdoor recreation including hikes and walking tours. Many venues offer musical entertainment, activities and crafts for children and refreshments.   

Save the Date for Heritage Days 2016:

Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26th!

Heritage Days 2016 Sites List          The Heritage Days 2016 brochure will be available in May! 

Sites are open from noon to 4pm each day, unless otherwise indicated.


Programs are color-coded by heritage area theme:  


Rivers, Roads & Rails: Transportation Trails

Crossroads & Cultures: African American & Quaker Heritage

Agricultural Reserve: Farms, Markets & Scenic Byways

Heritage Gems: Montgomery County’s Past 


Please note that some locations are open both Saturday & Sunday and others are only open one day of the weekend.  



1 - Gaithersburg Community Museum 301-258-6160

9 S. Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg

Saturday: open at 10am; Sunday: open at noon

Explore an 1884 railroad complex featuring a 1918 steam locomotive and caboose, train station, and museum located in the Freight House. Child-friendly, interactive local history exhibits and hands-on learning centers. Old-time, traditional music by Claude & Erica and The Martin Family String Band, 1:30 and 3pm.


2 - International Latitude Observatory 301-258-6160

100 DeSellum Avenue, Gaithersburg

This restored 1899 observatory is one of six built around the world to determine the “wobble of the earth.” Solar observations (weather permitting) and a compass-making project. Saturday: Guided tours of monuments & geodetic markers, David Doyle, retired, Coast & Geodetic Survey, 12:30 and 2:30pm; learn about the building and its restoration, Bryan Blundell, Architectural Preservation Specialist, 1-3pm; Story Tapestries, tales of the stars, Ariana Ross, 3pm. Sunday: Bryan Blundell, 1-3pm; Story Tapestries, 1:30pm; and a visit from “Edwin Smith,” the first observer, 3pm. 


3 - Swains Lockhouse on the C&O Canal 301-651-7578

Lockhouse 21, end of Swains Lock Road, Potomac

Open for the first time for public tours, see preservation-in-process at this historic lockhouse. Picnic at Swains Lock Campground, walk or bike to Great Falls Visitor Center, and meet the famous Canal Mules!


4 - Whites Ferry

24801 Whites Ferry Road, Poolesville 301-349-5200

Site of an operating ferry since 1786, this unique cable ferry crosses the Potomac River every 20 minutes.  Free ferry rides for those on foot.


5 - Boyds Negro School 301-943-8771

19510 White Ground Road, Boyds

This restored one-room structure was the sole public school for African American children in the Boyds area from 1895-1936. Watch the Boyds Negro School: Historic Lives video. Children’s activities include calligraphy, button necklace craft, marbles, and horseshoes.


6 - Button Farm Living History Center 301-916-7090

16820 Black Rock Road, Germantown

See examples of plantation life in 1850s Maryland including heritage breed animals, heirloom garden, newly restored 19th-century buildings, and slave cemetery. Historical demonstrations and activities for visitors of all ages. 


7 - Harper Cabin at Brookside Nature Center 301-650-4373

1400 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton

Saturday: 10am-5pm; Sunday: 1-5pm

This 1880s homestead features a chestnut log cabin with period furnishings.  Learn about the daily life of newly emancipated African American families.  Guided tours, hands-on activities for families.


8 - Pleasant View Historical Site

11810 Darnestown Road, Gaithersburg 301-330-9828

Saturday: Celebrate the traditional Junefest Festival including historic displays, guest speaker, music, food, and games for all ages at this African American heritage site featuring an historic church, school, and cemetery. Sunday: visit the school and cemetery.


9 - Woodlawn Visitor Center 301-650-4373

16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring (Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park)

Open at 10am

Stop by the new visitor center in this restored 1832 stone barn.  Exhibits highlight local agricultural, Quaker, and African American history. Guided tours, hands-on activities for families, games for children.


10 - Hyattstown Mill 301-830-1142

14920 Hyattstown Mill Road, Clarksburg

Open at 10am

See the new “Dwellings” art exhibit in the gallery of the historic mill.  Art demonstrations and crafts for children. Saturday: Artists’ reception, 2-4pm; live bluegrass & country swing music by Tumbleweeds, 3pm. Sunday: Live guitar music by Jim Wagner.  


11 - John Poole House 301-477-0777

19923 Fisher Avenue, Poolesville

This 1793 log cabin was built to serve as a general store and trading post; it is the oldest building in Poolesville. Civil War artifacts, children’s crafts, and refreshments.


12 - King Barn Dairy MOOseum 301-254-6575

18028 Central Park Circle, Boyds

Learn about the history and technology of dairying. See a Ford Model T milk delivery truck, wooden milk wagon, model railroad, and life-sized model cows. Visit the playroom, make crafts, or “milk” a model cow. Watch Montgomery Countryside Alliance’s Growing Legacy, a documentary on the Agricultural Reserve. Saturday: Toddler Story Time, 11am; Balloon Man will make balloon figures for kids, 12-2 pm; “kid contests,” 2-3pm.  Sunday: Talk with a local farm family, 12-4pm; Music Time for Tots with Miss Regina, 12-1pm; Toddler Story Time, 1pm; “kid contests,” 1-2pm; and butter churning, 2-3pm.


13 - Poolesville Museum 301-477-0777

19933 Fisher Avenue, Poolesville

This 100+ year-old restored bank includes an ornate, early 20th-century bank vault with decorative painting.  The documentaries Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War and Growing Legacy, about the Agricultural Reserve, will be shown.


14 - Beall-Dawson House 301-340-2825

103 W. Montgomery Avenue, Rockville

Saturday: Learn about local life in the 1800s, tour the Beall-Dawson House and visit “Dr. Stonestreet,” Civil War Union Army surgeon and local doctor in the Stonestreet Museum of 19th-Century Medicine. Special programs & activities on genealogy research; games, book sale, and live music. Sunday: Tours of the house and medical museum. 


15 - Glen Echo Park 301-634-2222

7300 MacArthur Boulevard, Glen Echo

Stop by the historic Spanish ballroom and view new videos about Glen Echo’s amusement park and early arts eras; craft activities for kids. Enjoy activities throughout the park, including rides on the historic carousel ($). Park is open sunrise to sunset.  


16 - Seneca Schoolhouse Museum 301-477-0777

16800 River Road, Poolesville

Take a “step-back-in-time” in this restored 1880s one-room schoolhouse. Class will be in session with a period-costumed teacher. Classroom activities, games, and refreshments.




17 - Blockhouse Point Civil War Experience 301-650-4373

15000 River Road, Potomac

See the remains of an 1862 Civil War outpost camp and blockhouse used to guard the Potomac River crossing from Confederate attack. Two-mile guided hikes on an easy to moderate natural surface trail at 12, 1 & 2pm. Park at Callithea Horse Farm across from Signal Tree Lane.


18 - National Capital Trolley Museum 301-384-6088

1313 Bonifant Road, Colesville

Open until 5pm

Docent-led tours of the Street Car Hall, Streetcars Go to the Movies video, and a model of the Rock Creek Railway. “Civil War Streetcars” exhibit explores the introduction of street railways in the Nation’s Capital. Ride vintage streetcars for two miles through Northwest Branch Park ($).


19 - Monocacy Aqueduct on the C&O Canal 301-972-8983

Mouth of Monocacy Road, Dickerson

The Piscataway Conoy Tribe will perform traditional Native American dances and talk about their heritage.  Tribe members will be in full ceremonial regalia with authentic musical instruments. 


20 - Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park 301-650-4373

3610 Brookeville Road, Olney

Tour the restored log cabin, home to African American tenant families during the late 1800s. Storytellers, guided tours, hands-on activities for families, games for children, and live music. Park at Longwood Local Park, 19300 Georgia Ave. Shuttle provided.


21 - Sandy Spring Slave Museum

18524 Brooke Road, Sandy Spring

Open at 11am

Tour the cross-section model of a slave clipper ship, Arts Pavilion, and slave log cabin. View art and artifacts in the Great Hall. Movie screenings of Community Cornerstones: African American Communities in Montgomery County will be shown at 12, 1, 2, & 3pm.


22 - Smithville School Museum and Education Center

811 E. Randolph Road, Silver Spring 301-879-3700

Tour the restored historic Rosenwald school, built in the 1920s for African American children. Activities include a film about the building and presentations on the history of the school and its current use.


23 - St. Paul Community Church 301-717-9304

14730 Sugarland Lane, Poolesville

Tour the 1893 church and cemetery; exhibits, artifacts and historical documents. Presentation on Sugarland’s founding families, 12:45pm. First-person interpretation of “Nettie Branison-Johnson,” a turn-of-the-century African American midwife, 1:30pm, followed by a gospel concert featuring Deacon and the Boys. 


24 - Underground Railroad Experience Trail 301-650-4373

16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring (Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park) 

Join “conductors” on guided hikes along a simulated Underground Railroad trail. The 2-mile natural surface trail winds through fields, woods, and across streams to the historic Sandy Spring. Learn techniques used by freedom seekers to elude pursuers. The 90-minute hikes begin at 9, 9:30, 10, & 10:30am. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.


25 - Agricultural History Farm Park 301-650-4373

18400 Muncaster Road, Derwood  

Tour the turn-of-the-20th-century Magruder-Bussard farmstead.  Guided tours, old-fashioned farm demonstrations, hands-on activities for families, games for children, and live music. 


26 - Damascus Heritage Museum 301-253-3361

9701 Main Street, Damascus

See the “Treasures of Damascus” exhibit as well as a restored horse-drawn school “bus” from the early 1900s.


27 - Historic Clarksburg

Clarksburg Historical Society on Facebook 301-916-3899

23425 Spire Street, Clarksburg

Visit a historic 1909 church and National Historic Register two-room schoolhouse. Activities include local history exhibits, cemetery tours, classic cars, children’s games & activities, moon bounce, music, and more. Free trolley rides from the church to the schoolhouse. Refreshments for sale.


28 - Brookeville Academy 301-570-4465

5 High Street, Brookeville

Visit the Brookeville Academy (circa 1810) and learn about the town’s history and life in the early 1800s.  Exhibit of artifacts uncovered by archaeologists at the Madison House and Thomas Mill site. Walking tours of this “U.S. Capital for a Day” highlighting Brookeville during the War of 1812.


29 - Olney Theatre Center 301-924-3400

2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney

Tours of this 5-acre theatrical arts campus dating back to 1939, on the hour from noon to 3pm. 


30 - Red Brick Courthouse 301-762-0096

29 Courthouse Square, Rockville

Open house at the Red Brick Courthouse to launch the new heritage map of Rockville; history workshops. Early Rockville Walking Tour leaves from the courthouse at 11am and 1pm.


31 - Sandy Spring Museum 301-774-0022

17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring

The Sandy Spring Folk Life Festival celebrates the diversity of cultural traditions in the Sandy Spring community through live music and dance performances, arts, conversation, oral history, and foodways. 




32 - Germantown Bank 301-972-2707

19320 Mateny Hill Road, Germantown

Visit this 1922 bank, with a walk-in vault and period safe deposit boxes; exhibits on local history.  Guided walking tours of Historic Germantown, a railroad town dating to the 1880s. 


33 - Silver Spring B&O Railroad Station 301-495-4915

8100 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring

Open House featuring trains and model trains inside and out; HO scale model train and Riverdale Model Railroaders Club working train display. Children’s play area, family-friendly activities, refreshments, and more at this restored 1945 train station. Silver Spring Historical Society’s Bike/Picnic Tour of Historic Silver Spring: meet here at 10am; participants provide their own bikes, helmets, and lunches.


34 - Josiah Henson Park 301-650-4373

11420 Old Georgetown Road, N. Bethesda

Tour the historic Riley farm where Rev. Josiah Henson was enslaved from 1795 to 1830. Henson’s autobiography inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's landmark novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Tours on the half hour, 12-3pm. Explore an archaeology dig, make a set of marbles. “Lyrical Rhythms: Celebrating the Life of Father Henson” spoken word poetry event for all ages, 4-5pm. Refreshments. Park at Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd.



Some pictures from Heritage Days Weekend 2015

Button Farm Living History Center, International Latitude Observatory, King Barn Dairy MOOseum

Historic Silver Spring B&O RR Station, Seneca Aqueduct at C&O Canal, Beall-Dawson House



Executive Director Sarah Rogers discusses highlights of Heritage Days 2015 on Comcast Newsmakers.