Historic St. Mary’s City Observes Maryland Day March 23, 2024

March 18, 2024

Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) invites the community to celebrate Maryland Day by offering free admission to the outdoor exhibits on Saturday, March 23, 2024.

Living history sites will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Plan to visit the Woodland Indian Hamlet and learn about the people and culture that were here on this land now called Maryland; or the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation to see heritage-breed cows, pigs, and chickens; step on board Maryland Dove to imagine the risks taken on the original journey in 1634; or explore the reconstructed Town Center, the place for all government business in the 1600s.

The celebration’s highlight will be the annual HSMC Maryland Day ceremony, under the Margaret Brent Pavilion (parking in the State House parking lot, 47418 Old State House Road), beginning at 1:00 p.m. Beginning the ceremony will be a blessing offered by Francis Gray, Piscataway-Conoy tribal chairman, with additional remarks by Lucille Walker, Director of the Southern Maryland National Heritage Area, and other dignitaries. This year’s featured keynote speaker will be Hess Stinson, Descendants Coordinator at Catoctin Furnace Historical Society.

Recently retired Maryland Dove Captain Will Gates will receive the museum’s highest honor, the Cross Bottony Award, for his years of dedicated service with the institution. As stated by John L. Seidel, Historic St. Mary’s City Executive Director, “Will’s knowledge of seafaring in the 17th century, and his ability to convey that expertise with passion and clarity, has transfixed countless visitors to Historic St. Mary’s City. When he engages with you, it’s impossible not to share his excitement. We will miss him deeply, but he leaves a lasting legacy on our waterfront and in the thousands in whom he has ignited a curiosity about the past. There is no one more deserving of this award.”

A new award will be given in 2024 posthumously to Mary Bohanan, a longtime Historic St. Mary’s City supporter. Her position as the HSMC Events Manager highlighted Mary’s natural leadership skills and ability to make everyone feel welcome and included. Mary’s smile and gracious demeanor welcomed many a nervous wedding couple, deftly handling any last-minute complications with ease. Because of her dedication and devotion to the museum, her family will be given the first Peter Aloysius “Pete” Himmelheber Award for Outstanding Contributions to Historic St. Mary’s City, so named for the longtime volunteer and local historian Pete Himmelheber who passed away in November 2022.

Both Mary and Pete had a love for the museum, the grounds, and the history of the land that is HSMC.

After the awards presentation, the Maryland Day program will close with the Ceremony of the Flags, as children from across Maryland present their county colors.

Historic St. Mary’s City is an outdoor museum of living history and archaeology dedicated to telling the diverse stories of Maryland’s beginnings.

For more information about HSMC, contact the Visitor Center at 301-994-4370, 800-SMC-1634, or [email protected].