Talk About the Future of Museums’ History

January 28, 2024

The lighthouses at Piney Point and St. Clement’s Island shine over storied waters, navigated for thousands of years before the towers’ construction. The old jailhouse in Leonardtown prompts inquiries about justice, and injustice, meted out over centuries. A schoolhouse in Drayden serves as a reminder of a painful divide that remained unchallenged, until only a few decades ago.

Questions inspired today by the historic sites preserved and maintained by the St. Mary’s County Museum Division can provide guidance toward these landmarks’ continued relevance, and how programs presented at the four locations can continue to serve as a template for understanding St. Mary’s past, present and future.

The Community Mediation Center of St. Mary’s County, in partnership with local organizations, has planned Community Conversations, a series of dialogs where people from throughout the county, and from all walks of life, can discuss topics of interest and concern in a safe, encouraging and conducive space. The next conversation, from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, will be hosted by the county’s museum division and will be held at the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) Interpretive Center at the Lexington Manor Passive Park.

The discussions, which began last summer at a gathering with the St. Mary’s Chapter of the NAACP, further the mediation center’s responsibility to create a space for systemic change, according to Mia Bowers, the center’s executive director, in keeping with a hallmark of community mediation. The center’s outreach efforts have formed partnerships with a broad array of agencies, including many that are concerned the message of what they have to offer isn’t being heard.

“There’s a big disconnect,” Bowers said. But in addition to sharing their information, the agencies also want to hear from the people they hope to serve. “They can learn from the community,” she said. “You get to learn from them, and, in turn, they get to learn from you.”

The conversations are geared toward creating new and lasting connections, Bowers said, through that open and honest exchange of information. There is no charge for admission to the discussions, and light refreshments will be provided.

For more information on the Community Conversations series and the mediation center, including its many services related to conflict resolution, call 301-475-9118, or go online to