Historic Sites & Museums

Listings A-C

Abraham Hall
7612 Old MuirKirk Road
Beltsville, MD 20705
240-264-3415
www.pgparks.com
Constructed in 1889, Abraham Hall is located in the historic African African community of Rossville. The first African American historic site in Prince George’s to be fully restored utilizing public funds, Abraham Hall served as a meeting hall, house of worship, school, and social hall. It was constructed by the Benevolent Sons & Daughters of Abraham. Renovated and re-dedicated in 2009, the building houses the Black History Program of the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission, Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation.


AAHSitesAfrican American Heritage Sites (AAHS)
County-wide Locations
Request an AAHS Guide on our Request Information Page
Download a PDF File of the Guide

Discover the richness and diversity that Prince George’s County has to offer. For over 300 years, African Americans have raised families and built communities that have been vital to the growth and development of Prince George’s County and its history. They have established neighborhoods and built physical structures, many of which survive in the midst of the County’s ever changing landscape.

The African American Heritage Sites guide invites you to take a visual journey to those African American historic sites and buildings – whether through offered guided tours (specific locations) or self-guided tours. Through its history depictions and imagery, the AAHS guide describes the origins, functions and architectural style of each site and its historical development as a county landmark.


Airmen Memorial Museum
5211 Auth Road
Suitland, MD 20746
1-800-638-0594
www.afsahq.org/AMM/amm-htm/mwelcome.htm
The Airmen Memorial Museum (AMM) is a privately run museum that documents the men and women behind the growth of aviation. Founded in 1988 by the Air Force Sergeants Association, the AMM stands as a tribute to enlisted airmen for their sacrifices and contributions made while serving in the Signal Corps (1907-1918), the Army Air Service (1918-1926), the Army Air Corps (1926-1941), the Army Air Forces (1941-1947), and/or the U.S. Air Force (1947-present). The museum is dedicated to collecting artifacts, photographs, diaries, personnel records, letters, books, and other items pertaining to the service of enlisted airmen. The goals of the museum are to preserve these collections, tell the stories of enlisted personnel, and preserve the enlisted heritage of U.S. air and space power.


Battle of Bladensburg Visitors Center
4601 Annapolis Road
Bladensburg, MD 20710
301-927-8819
www.pgparks.com/War_of_1812/
Battle_of_Bladensburg_Visitor_Center.htm
This exhibit center uses photos, artifacts and other media to tell the fascinating story of the people, places and events of the War of 1812 in Prince George’s County. Historical and archeological artifacts from the British troop encampments in Nottingham will be displayed, along with narrative historical accounts, and even a movie depicting the famous namesake battle of this Visitors Center. It tells the story of dramatic events which took place in Prince George’s County as the British marched to Washington and burned government buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress and even the White House. The role of African Americans in the conflict, both free and enslaved, also will be highlighted.


Belair Mansion
12207 Tulip Grove Drive
Bowie, MD 20715
301-809-3089
www.cityofbowie.org
This magnificent structure represents the history of Bowie circa 1745. The beautiful five-part Georgian plantation house was once the home of Samuel Ogle, provincial governor of Maryland. Enlarged in 1914 by the New York architectural firm of Delano and Aldrich, the mansion was also the home of William Woodward, a famous horseman in the first half of the 20th century. Restored to reflect its 250-year-old legacy, the mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Belair Stable Museum
2835 Belair Drive
Bowie, MD 20715
301-809-3088
www.cityofbowie.org
Owned and operated by William Woodward, Belair Stable was part of the famous “Belair Stud,” one of the premier racing stables in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Belair Stable was home to Gallant Fox and Omaha, father-and-son horses that won the Triple Crown; to Nashua, who was “Horse of the Year” in 1955; and to many other well-known racehorses. Until its closing in 1957, Belair, whose history extends over 250 years, was the oldest continually operated racehorse farm in the United States. Today, the stable has been restored and opened as a museum. Like the Belair Mansion, the stable is supported by the City of Bowie and the Friends of Belair Estate.


Billingsley House Museum
6900 Green Landing Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301-627-0730
www.pgparks.com
Located on 430 acres of land overlooking the confluence of the Patuxent River and the Western Branch, Billingsley is an early plantation home of the Tidewater Colonial style. Built around 1740 as a home for the Weems family, the house is named for Maj. John Billingsley, who obtained the original land grant from the second Lord Baltimore in 1662. The house was owned by several prominent families and was renovated in the mid 19th century.


Bowie Railroad Station/Huntington Museum
8614 Chestnut Avenue
Bowie, MD 20715
301-809-3089
www.cityofbowie.org
Located in historic Old Bowie, the station was relocated from its original site across the railroad tracks and restored in the 1990s. The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Company built the first station in 1872 at the junction of rail lines into Washington, DC, and southern Maryland. The lines were later integrated into the Pennsylvania Railroad Company system. The Town of Bowie (originally Huntington City) grew up around the train station. The existing museum buildings were constructed in the early 1900s, but closed in 1989. The Railroad Museum is supported by the City of Bowie and the Huntington Heritage Society.


college park aviation museumCollege Park Aviation Museum
1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive
College Park, MD 20740
301-864-6029
www.collegeparkaviationmuseum.com
The College Park Aviation Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is located on the grounds of the world’s oldest continuously operating airport. The airport, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was founded in 1909 when Wilbur Wright came here to give flight instruction to the first military aviators. Visitors to the museum step into an open one-and-a-half-story exhibit space, which highlights the display of unique aircraft and artifacts and tells the story of the airport’s many aviation firsts. The museum gallery contains historic and reproduction aircraft associated with the history of the airfield, as well as hands-on activities and interpretive areas for children of all ages. Changing exhibits and new programs every month keep visitors coming back for more.


Listings D-M

Darnall’s Chance House Museum
14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301-952-8010
www.pgparks.com
Darnall’s Chance was built between 1741-1742 for James Wardrop, a Scottish immigrant, who amassed a fortune as a merchant and entrepreneur in the bustling port-town of Upper Marlborough, Maryland. In 1748, he married Lettice Lee, daughter of Phillip Lee, the progenitor of the Maryland branch of the illustrious Lee family of Virginia.


dinosaur_parkDinosaur Park
13200 Mid Atlantic Blvd.
Laurel, MD 20708
301-627-7755
www.pgparks.com
Did you know the official State Dinosaur was first discovered in Prince George’s County? The 20-ton Astrodon Johnstoni lived between 130 million and 95 million years ago. Teeth from the Astrodon Johnstoni were first discovered in Prince George’s County in 1858. The recently opened Dinosaur Park has been the site of numerous fossil finds representing millions of years of Prince George’s County history from the Cretaceous Period (144-65 million years ago), when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, to the early Iron Industry of Maryland (spanning the 1650s to the 1920s). Featuring interpretive signs, evocative plantings, walkways, and public parking, the Dinosaur Park is open to the public on the first and third Saturdays of each month, from 12-4 pm. School and group programs by appointment. Schedule may expand and additional programs to be announced. Call for details.


Dorsey Chapel
10704 Brookland Road
Glenn Dale, MD 20769
240-264-3415
www.pgparks.com
Dorsey Chapel is a small meeting-house-style church which served as the spiritual and social center of the rural African-American community of Brookland at the turn of the 20th century. Construction of the chapel was completed in 1900; it was named after its first minister, the Reverend A.B. Dorsey. A small, active congregation occupied the chapel from 1900 to 1971. In 1971, the congregation merged with the congregation from Perkins Chapel to form Glenn Dale United Methodist Church, and Dorsey Chapel was no longer used. Initially scheduled for demolition in 1980, the Friends of Dorsey Chapel organized efforts to preserve and restore the church.


Fort Washington National Park
13551 Fort Washington Road
Fort Washington, MD 20744
301-763-4600
www.nps.gov/fowa
Fort Washington has stood as a silent sentry defending the nation’s capital for over 180 years. As technologies advanced, so did Fort Washington, one of the few remaining seacoast forts in its original design. Sitting on high ground overlooking the Potomac River, picturesque Ft. Washington offers a grand view of Washington, DC, and the Virginia shoreline. Today, only one silent gun stands behind the masonry wall-the last armament of the powerful fort that once guarded the water approach to the city. In addition to the fort, the 341-acre park offers an assortment of recreational opportunities, including hiking and biking trails and a playground.


Greenbelt MuseumGreenbelt Museum
10-B Crescent Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770
301-507-6582
www.greenbeltmuseum.org
Greenbelt is a planned community that was designed and built by the federal government during the Great Depression. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the project put many unemployed people to work building the original town, while also creating homes for families of modest income during a severe housing shortage. Greenbelt’s team of prominent planners and architects attempted to create a small utopia using the principles of garden-city planning. Greenbelt is one of three federal “greentowns” (the others are Greendale, WI, and Greenhills, OH). In 1997, Greenbelt became a National Historic Landmark. The Greenbelt Museum includes an original international-style house near the town’s center that is restored and furnished with objects from the period of 1936-1946. The walls are hung with original architectural renderings and artwork created by New Deal artists and architects.


LaurelHistoricalSocietyMuseumLaurel Historical Society Museum
817 Main Street
Laurel, MD 20707
301-725-7975
www.historicalsociety.org
The Laurel Mansion is located in a former mill-workers’ home. The museum houses collections of books, photographs, tools, personal artifacts, textiles, and oral histories. Its main floor is the site of exhibits devoted to the history of Laurel and the surrounding community. Downstairs is devoted to the gift shop, additional exhibits, and an audio-visual area. The 2,590-square-foot brick and stone building was erected in the early 1840s by mill owners to house their employees.


marietta_houseMarietta House Museum
5626 Bell Station Road
Glenn Dale, MD 20769
301-464-5291
www.pgparks.com
Marietta, the Federal-style brick home of Gabriel Duvall, an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built circa 1813, Marietta remained under ownership of the Duvall family until 1902. Justice Duvall’s law office and root cellar remain today.


montpelier_circleMontpelier Mansion
9650 Muirkirk Road
Laurel, MD 20708.
301-377-7817
www.pgparks.com
A fine example of the Georgian architecture popular in Maryland in the late 1700s, Montpelier Mansion sits on approximately 70 acres of beautiful parkland. Architectural and building construction details, as well as historical research, suggest that the house was constructed between 1781 and 1785. Major Thomas Snowden and his wife, Anne, original owners of Montpelier Mansion, welcomed many distinguished guests into their home, including George Washington and Abigail Adams.


mount_calvertMount Calvert Historical & Archaeological Park
16302 Mount Calvert Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301-627-1286
www.pgparks.com
Mount Calvert is one of the most significant historical and archaeological sites in Prince George’s County. Ten interpretative wayside signs and the exhibit “The Confluence of Three Cultures” describe the archaeology of 8,000 years of American Indian presence, the development of colonial Charles-Town (the county’s first seat of government from 1696-1721), and an early American tobacco plantation.


Listings N-O

NASAGoddardSFCNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Visitor Center
ICESat Drive
Greenbelt, MD 20771
301-286-3978
www.gsfc.nasa.gov/vc/index.html
The hub of all NASA tracking activities, Goddard is also responsible for the development of unmanned sounding rockets and research in space and earth sciences (including NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth). Through interactive educational exhibits, visitors explore Goddard Space Flight Center with a focus on 1958 to the present. Collections include space-flight artifacts and photographs. Model-rocket launchings, a gift shop, and special group tours are available.


National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705
301-504-5755
www.nal.usda.gov
Established in 1862 under legislation signed by President Lincoln, the National Agricultural Library, along with the Library of Congress and the National Library of Medicine, is one of the three national libraries of the United States. It is the largest agricultural library in the world, with over 2.3 million volumes on 48 miles of shelves located on 14 floors.


National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740
301-837-2000
www.archives.gov/index.html
The National Archives at College Park is best known as the current home of the Richard Nixon/Watergate tapes. This state-of-the-art archival facility houses an extensive collection of important and historic documents, tapes, and film. Reservations are required.


radio_television2National Capital Radio & Television Museum
2608 Mitchellville Road
Bowie, MD 20716
301-390-1020
www.ncrtv.org
Explore radio from Marconi’s earliest wireless telegraph to the primitive crystal sets of the 1920s, from Depression-era cathedrals and post-War plastic portables to the development of radio with pictures (a.k.a. television). The museum is located in the 1906 Harmel House, an old storekeeper’s residence in the village of Mitchellville, a section of modern south Bowie. In conjunction with the City of Bowie, the Radio History Society presents the history of broadcasting, a medium which so dramatically shaped our lives from the 1920s to today.


nnational_colonial_farm_000National Colonial Farm
3400 Bryan Point Road
Accokeek, MD 20607
301-283-2113, ext. 15
www.accokeek.org
The National Colonial Farm, an outdoor living-history museum, was established by the Accokeek Foundation in 1958. Located on 200 acres of Piscataway Park directly across from Mt. Vernon on the Potomac, the farm depicts life for an ordinary tobacco-planting family in Prince George’s County in the 1770s. Skilled interpreters lead tours of the farm, highlighting the colonial structures, fields, gardens, and animals. Structures located within the colonial site are open to the public and include a circa-1770 farm dwelling, an 18th-century tobacco barn, a smokehouse, and an out-kitchen. The National Colonial Farm is a recognized leader in the field of historic plant preservation.


National Museum of Language
301-864-7071
www.languagemuseum.org
The museum’s physical space is now closed. We are building a unique, robust, multi-faceted interactive “Virtual Museum” which will educate and entertain a vast audience. In addition, we are taking our physical museum “on the road” to new sites. We continue to host a variety of community events, such as the lecture series, traveling exhibits, and children’s summer language camp.


NationalWildlifeVisitorCenterNational Wildlife Visitor Center
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708
301-497-5760
http://patuxent.fws.gov
The center is located at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 12,000-acre Patuxent Research Refuge, established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. Explore wildlife and the environment in a Smithsonian-quality experience featuring interactive exhibits. The focus is on global environmental issues, migratory bird studies, habitats, endangered species, and life cycles. Magnificent walking trails are also available. But for those who would rather sit, enjoy the view from the tram tours (weather permitting; minimal fees apply).


Newton White Mansion
2708 Enterprise Road
Mitchellville, MD 20716
301-249-2004
www.pgparks.com
Located on a tract of land nearly 600 acres in size, Newton White Mansion is the former home of Captain and Mrs. Newton H. White. Captain White was the commander of the U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Enterprise. The home is located adjacent to the lush, green Enterprise Golf Course in one of Prince George’s County’s most beautiful settings.


northampton_slave_quartersNorthampton Plantation Slave Quarters & Archeological Park
Lake Overlook Drive
Lake Arbor, MD 20721
301-627-1286 (Archaeological Program)
301-454-1780 (Black History Program)
www.pgparks.com
Historians and archaeologists are working together to reconstruct the lives of the many slaves and tenant farmers who lived at Northampton Plantation. Detailed information about the life of one slave, Elizabeth Hawkins, was obtained from descendents who live in the area and who are active participants in the research and excavations relating to the site. Northampton is located at the Northlake residential development in Lake Arbor, in a community park. Interpretative signage guides visitors on a tour of this unique site.


Old Town Bowie Welcome Center 
& Interactive Children’s Museum
8606 Chestnut Avenue
Bowie, MD 20715
301-575-2488
www.cityofbowie.org
The Old Town Bowie Welcome Center is located at the 1929 Bowie Building Association site adjacent to the historic Bowie Railroad Station and Huntington Museum. It is filled with historic information about Bowie, as well as local, county, and state visitor information. Exhibits include historic objects and photos covering the community’s 125-year heritage. In addition, there are artifacts and experiments for children on aspects of life in an early-20th-century railroad town.


Oxon Hill Farm at Oxon Cove Park
6411 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD 20745
301-839-1176
www.nps.gov/oxhi
Oxon Hill Farm is a historical farm with buildings dating back to the early 1800s when the property was a wheat plantation. A variety of daily farm activities and programs is held throughout the park’s 512 acres.


Listings P-S

Patuxent Rural Life Museums
Patuxent River Park
1600 Croom Airport Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301-627-6074
www.pgparks.com
The Patuxent Rural Life Museums, located within the 6,000-acre Patuxent River Park, are a collection of museums and farm building dedicated to preserving the heritage of southern Prince George’s County. There are seven buildings at the site: the Duvall Tool Museum, the Blacksmith Shop, the Farrier and Tack Shop, a Tobacco Farming Museum, and the 1880 Duckett Log Cabin with its privy, chicken coop, and meat house.


poplar_hillPoplar Hill on His Lordship’s Kindness
7606 Woodyard Road
Clinton, MD 20735
301-856-0358
www.poplarhillonhlk.com
Owned and operated by the John M. and Sara R. Walton Foundation, Inc., Poplar Hill on His Lordship’s Kindness is one of three structures in Prince George’s County designated as National Historic Landmarks. Originally named “Poplar Hill,” its present name is derived from a 7,000-acre land grand from Charles Calvert, the third Lord Baltimore, to Col. Henry Darnall in 1703. The current mansion was built between 1785 and 1787 by the colonel’s great-grandson, Robert Darnall. He replaced the earlier residence of his father, Henry Darnall III, with this beautiful Georgian home. Since its construction, Poplar Hill has been home to many families, including the Darnalls, the Sewalls, the Daingerfelds, U.S. Senator John S. and Susan Daingerfeld Barbour, the Hales, the Dunhams, U.S. Ambassador David Bruce and his wife, Evangeline Bruce, the Sayers, and the last owners, the Walton family.

Poplar Hill is open selected dates and by appointment. Call for details.


Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center
Gallery 110 @ Gateway Arts Center
3901 Rhode Island Avenue
Brentwood, MD 20722
301-209-0592 (Gallery)
301-809-0440 (Admin Office)
www.pgaamcc.org
The Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center aspires to become recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative approach to the documentation, interpretation, preservation, and presentation of local and regional African American history and culture. The museum will be constructed on a 2.5-acre site in North Brentwood, MD, the first municipality in Prince George’s County incorporated by African American citizens.  During the development phase, Gallery 110 at the Gateway Arts Center in neighboring Brentwood serves as interim exhibition and public programming space.


RidgeleyRosenwaldSchoolRidgeley Rosenwald School
8507 Central Avenue
Capitol Heights, MD 20743
301-333-6560
www.pgparks.com
Ridgeley Rosenwald School was opened in 1927 as Colored School No.1 in Election District 13. The small school was located in central Prince George’s County in the African American community of Ridgely*. A recipient of a Rosenwald Foundation grant, the school was one of nearly 5,000 Rosenwald schools built in the south for African American children. The foundation provided seed money for the schools, and the local African American community provided the rest with tax revenue, cash, and in-kind donations. Along with a nearby church and society hall, also named Ridgely, the school was one of the focal points of the community until it was closed in 1954. Ridgeley was then used as a special education center and as administrative offices. Having remained largely intact, the Ridgeley Rosenwald School is one of the best examples of a Rosenwald school in Prince George’s County. The building originally consisted of two large classrooms (each of which served at least three grades), a central passageway; and an entrance flanked by two cloakrooms. A third classroom was added by the 1950s. Of 27 Rosenwald schools built in Prince George’s County, the Ridgeley Rosenwald School is one of nine that remains. Newly restored, the school has retained many of its original design elements.


Riversdale House Museum
4811 Riverdale Road
Riverdale Park, MD 20737
301-864-0420
www.pgparks.com
Riversdale, a National Historic Landmark, is a restored, five-part, stucco-covered brick plantation home built between 1801 and 1807. Construction of this elegant manor house was begun for Henri Stier, a Flemish aristocrat, and was completed by his daughter Rosalie and her husband, George Calvert, grandson of the fifth Lord Baltimore. The mansion blends both Flemish and American architectural styles and has particularly fine interior plaster detail. The site is also home to a gift shop.

roosevelt-center-thtrRoosevelt Center
131 Centerway
Greenbelt, MD 20770
301-982-0044
www.greenbeltmuseum.org
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenbelt_Historic_District
Roosevelt Center, which opened in 1937, is one of the first planned shopping areas in the country.  During the New Deal Era, it was built as the centerpiece of Greenbelt, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Resettlement Administration’s three “greentowns” (the others Greenhills, Ohio and Greendale, Wisconsin).  A precursor to the modern shopping mall, the planners of the City of Greenbelt positioned the center to be within easy and safe walking distance from all the town’s inhabitants.  It served as a major community/commercial hub and Greenbelt residents cooperatively owned all of the center’s commercial businesses. This included a grocery store, variety store, gas station, drug store, tobacco shop,  barber shop, beauty shop, movie theater, and valet shop.  The center continues to flourish and support the residents of Greenbelt.  And, several of the cooperative businesses remain operational including the grocery store and New Deal Cafe.  The elegant Old Greenbelt Theatre re-opened in 2015.  The City of Greenbelt name the center after Roosevelt in 1982, in commemoration of his 100th birthday and the key role he played in the founding of Greenbelt.


Seabrook Schoolhouse
6116 Seabrook Road
Lanham, MD 20706
301-464-5291
www.pgparks.com
The Seabrook Schoolhouse, built in 1896 by the residents of the Seabrook community, provided education for grades one through seven until the early 1950s. The one-room schoolhouse is one of the few surviving one-room schoolhouses in Prince George’s County. The building is unique in that it was designed to resemble the Victorian Gothic architectural style of the cottages originally built in the community.


snow_hillSnow Hill Manor
13301 Laurel-Bowie Road
Laurel, MD 20708
301-725-6037
www.pgparks.com
Originally built in 1755, Snow Hill Manor was destroyed by fire in 1764 and rebuilt in 1798. One of the many homes in the Laurel area formerly owned by the distinguished Snowden family, Snow Hill Manor is situated on 15 acres of land. The two-story brick plantation house boasting late-Georgian architecture has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974.


surratt_houseSurratt House Museum
9110 Brandywine Road
Clinton, MD 20735
301-868-1121
www.surratt.org
Experience history like never before! This historic house museum, built in 1852 as a middle-class farmhouse for the family of John and Mary Surratt, also served as a tavern and hostelry, a Post Office, and a polling place before the Civil War. During the war, it became a safe house in the Confederate underground that flourished in southern Maryland. In 1864, the Surratt family became entangled in a plot by John Wilkes Booth to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. Instead, Booth assassinated the president in 1865. While fleeing the area, he stopped at the tavern to retrieve weapons and supplies he had hidden there. Consequently, Mary Surratt was tried in military court and convicted of conspiracy. On July 7, 1865, she became the first -woman executed by the federal government.


Historic PGCounty LogoInterested in Prince George’s County history?
Visit our new online resource, HistoricPrinceGeorges, for an extended outline of historic sites and landmarks throughout the county.