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Celebrate Women’s History Month in MoCo

American marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964) works at a desk in her office, Maryland, August 1962. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

In 1987, The National Women’s History Project requested that Congress establish March as Women’s History Month and on March 12th that same year, it became officially declared as a month-long celebration in the United States.

From historic sites to women-owned farms, all month long we are celebrating the extraordinary, and ambitious women who have contributed to the history, innovation, and culture of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Visit the National Capital Trolley Museum “Women in Transition” Exhibit
The National Capital Trolley Museum highlights the deep history of trolleys, streetcars, trains, and more through historic photographs, life-size models, and videos. During Women’s History Month, the museum celebrates women through their “Women in Transition” exhibit.  Learn about women’s fashion changed how street cars were built. Then head over to the Children’s Desk for “Women as Street Car Conductors, Including Maya Angelou”, where you can explore how women broke into a male only role due to staffing shortages during World War II.

Explore the Rachel Carson Conservation Park
Rachel Carson was a marine biologist, conservationist, and author who wrote the book Silent Spring, which ultimately contributed to the advancement of the global environmental movement. During the last few years of her life, she called Silver Spring, Maryland home and spent her time studying various environmental threats such as pesticides and other spraying programs involving harmful chemicals. 

Her passion for nature and the environment lives on through the Rachel Carson Conservation Park. Named in her honor, the park is one of Montgomery County, Maryland’s premier conservation areas and includes six vibrant miles of natural surface trails that are perfect for hiking, walking, running, and exploring.

VM Team Fact: Elder Pine Brewing & Blending is located next door to the Rachel Carson Conservation Park. Enjoy a locally brewed ale among pine trees after your hike.

Shirley Butler | Courtesy of Butler’s Orchard

Pick Your Own Bounty at Butler’s Orchard

A Silver Spring native, Shirley Butler (also known as Mrs. B) and her husband George Butler purchased the original 37 acres of what now is known as Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland. They were known as the originators and pioneers of the “Pick Your Own” produce business and opened the farm publicly in the 1950s. Today, Butler’s Orchard offers more than 25 varieties of fruit, vegetables, flowers, trees, and herbs across the farmland, along with many family-friendly events throughout the year.

Shirley was the proud matriarch of her family. She oversaw every phase of development and growth on the farm, teaching and nurturing second and third generation Butler children into the family business. She never really retired and was often spotted out on the farm on her golf cart with her beloved dog Dakota by her side.

VM Team Fact: There are 492 female farmers in Montgomery County, Maryland. This makes up 48% of the total county producers in the area.

Ann Maria Weems | Courtesy of Peerless Rockville

Experience Anna Maria Weems Journey at The Underground Railroad Experience Trail
Anna Maria Weems was born into slavery in 1840 in Montgomery County, Maryland and is known for gaining her freedom by dressing like a man and risking her life to escape. On September 23rd, 1855, Anna Maria ran away to Washington, DC at just fifteen years old. There she spent time with relatives who had been separated from her early on in her life to craft a plan for her escape. She traveled to Philadelphia by carriage and met William Still, a principal conductor of the Underground Railroad, who helped her get to Brooklyn. On the final stretch of her long and exhausting journey, she traveled by train to Canada to meet her aunt and uncle who settled there years earlier. Anna Maria Weems was a free woman and called Canada home for the remainder of her life.

There are many others with stories similar to Anna Maria Weems that focus on their dangerous journeys to freedom. To understand the freedom seekers voyages, visit The Underground Railroad Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park to experience the journey first hand during a guided hike that allows you to follow the path that freedom seekers took to the North.

Tour the Clara Barton National Historic Site
A nurse and relief worker who founded the American Red Cross, Clara Barton is known for dedicating her life to help those in need. The Clara Barton National Historic Site includes The Clara Barton House, the place she called her home for the last 15 years of life until her passing in 1912. The site was the original headquarters of the American Red Cross and when open, offers self-guided and guided tours around the property. The site is currently closed for construction. Add the Clara Barton house to your itinerary this summer, as it is expected to reopen by June 2022.

Share how you celebrate Women’s History Month with us by using #MontgomeryMoment or tagging @VisitMoCo in your photo. 

Want to explore more historical sites in Montgomery County, Maryland? Check out the C&O National Historical Park or The Perfect Weekend Getaway Itinerary for History Lovers.