Upcoming Events

Join Us At Maryland Emancipation Day 2023!

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October 28, 2023, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

 Join Button Farm as we celebrate our annual Maryland Emancipation Day Event in commemoration of the day in 1864, when Maryland changed its constitution to abolish slavery six months before the end of the Civil War. The program features speakers, self-guided tours of the farm’s museum garden and animal pens.  Snacks and cider are provided! This event is generously funded by the Montgomery County Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation. 

Click here to read more about all our planned activities. https://buttonfarm.org/calendar/event/480-maryland-emancipation-day-2023.html

The historic Button Farm, home to the Menare Foundation, is Maryland’s only living history center depicting 19th-century plantation life. Situated on 40 acres, inside Seneca Creek State Park in Germantown, Maryland, Button Farm provides a safe and affirming space for people to gather, commune, and explore. Through our unique interactive experiences, we seek to reveal our nation’s social justice legacy, using the story of slavery and the Underground Railroad as a spark for human potential.

Our Past

The Button Farm—first established on a 270-acre land grant patented in 1767—is now nestled on 35 acres inside of the 6,300-acre Seneca Creek State Park. Dubbed “Barren Hills” this tract has seen more than two centuries of ownership. Purchased by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in the early 1970s, the farm was placed under DNR’s curatorship program and now serves as the home of The Menare Foundation. Explore the History of Button Farm.  

Our Present

OurPresent tmbThe Button Farm Living History Center interprets the period when enslaved labor shaped the landscape and modern agricultural technology had not yet been developed.  To bring this compelling story to life we recreate sensory experiences of the past, integrating the tastes, touch, smell, sights and sounds of the 1850s into the daily operations of the farm. Different from most museum experiences, where visitors are passive observers, our guests are invited to help create the experience by cultivating crops, learning a trade, or lending a hand on the daily workings of the farm.



Our Future

OurFuture tmbWhile Button Farm itself was not a station on the Underground Railroad, we chose this site, and its surviving 19th-century landscape, as the setting for our Underground Railroad Immersion Experiences. Designed by Menare president Anthony Cohen in 1997 to prepare Oprah Winfrey for her role in Beloved, the URIE guides participants through a true-to-life experience of the journey from slavery to freedom. This is not a reenactment, but a guided facilitation, which places our guests as active participants at the center of this historical narrative. Aspects of local plantation life—crops, clothing, food, tools and artisan skills—will be grown, forged and stitched together onsite to create an authentic, and deeply immersive, period-interpretation of the era.

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