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Imagine waking up one day and finding yourself in bondage. What would you do? Would you adapt or resist? If you escaped, how would you prepare for the journey—who would you take and who would you leave behind? These are just a few of the challenges that our hands-on history programs present as participants are guided through facilitated experiences depicting the realities of plantation life and the struggle for self-liberation. The daily lives of enslaved people, the auction block and the flight to freedom, are all encountered in our professionally curated, living-history experiences.

Immersion vs. Reenactment

ImmersionVSreenactmet tmbButton Farm programs seek to create action-based historical experiences with real audiences and in real time. This means that we strive to eliminate walls between our interpretation and the visitor experience. Guests are invited to become active participants in our demonstrations and historical recreations.  While our goal is to encourage guests to experience history tangibly, we do not use roleplay as a method in any of our programs. At Button Farm no one is asked to portray an enslaver or enslaved person. But guests are encouraged to join in our work—performing farm tasks or trying your hand at a 19th century skill—to gain a deeper understanding into the daily realities of life on a Maryland plantation.

Speaking Truth

Words MatterWords matter. We want our guests to be engaged and feel respected. Old terminologies are being set aside as greater cultural awareness takes root. Words such as MASTER and SLAVE have been replaced with ENSLAVER and ENSLAVED to more accurately reveal historical power dynamics and restore dignity to those who have been silenced by history. 

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