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Montgomery Parks Hosts Grand Opening of Rehabilitated Historic Woodlawn Stone Barn for a Visitor Center and Cultural Destination

by Melissa Chotiner on May 31st, 2016

Public is invited to the free celebration on June 11, 2016 for tours of the barn and carriage house as well as food, live music and activities.


SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is hosting a grand opening to mark the rehabilitation of the historic Woodlawn Stone Barn at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park in Sandy Spring. The free event takes place Saturday, June 11, 2016 and will feature tours as well as activities, food and live music.


The rehabilitated barn and adjacent carriage house will now be open to the public as a visitor center. Both buildings feature exhibits showcasing aspects of Montgomery County’s history including the Underground barnRailroad, the Quaker experience, free Black communities in Montgomery County and the barn as a feature of the county’s agricultural landscape. The work has been done with minimal impact to the barn’s existing features to maintain the historic integrity of the building.


The project was funded with $2 million from the Maryland State Highway Administration (an Intercounty Connector Stewardship Project); $300,000 from State Bond Bills; $50,000 from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland, and significant support from the Montgomery County Council through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).


The work barn tourinvolved a careful restoration of the 1832 barn’s unique stone and timber construction and the installation of a dynamic audiovisual program. Voices and filmed imagery of Quakers, enslaved and free persons who lived and toiled on or near the property are projected onto interior stone walls creating a unique visitor experience. The carriage house will serve as the ticket office with introductory exhibits, retail and restrooms. The Underground Railroad Experience Trail that starts on the property will become unified with the entire Woodlawn Visitor Center experience.?


“The Woodlawn Stone Barn is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is a wonderful centerpiece in the bucolic setting of the historic Woodlawn Manor property and an incredible piece of local history.” said Mike Riley, Director of Montgomery Parks. “We look forward to having a place to tell important stories of this agricultural section of the county.  Thanks to the work of staff, designers, contractors, and members of the community who have helped bring this project to fruition, and thanks to all parties who have provided funding support. The project already won a 2015 Historic Preservation award from Montgomery Preservation Inc. for restoration of the barn and renovation of the site for educational use. We are thrilled to open this beautiful property to the public.”


Montgomery Parks intends to work closely with Montgomery County public schools and other nearby school jurisdictions to make the Woodlawn Stone Barn Visitor Center a great place for school field trips.


“We have an important opportunity to share the rich history of this area,” said Shirl Spicer, Museum Manager for Montgomery Parks. “It’s exciting to incorporate many different elements in this project–from the rehabilitation of the existing structure to multimedia exhibits—to bring these stories to life, and teach people what it was like nearly 200 years ago right here in Montgomery County.”



About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 417 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.


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