Inside, a small display of 19th artifacts found during excavations at Oakley Cabin complements the children’s activities. Visitors contemplate the bones, shells, tobacco pipes, ceramic sherds and nails, drawn by the glimpses these objects provide into the past.
Visitors mingled around the cabin sipping hot cider, sampling corn bread made on an open hearth by Parks Interpreter Lisa Berray and listening to the blues strummed and sung by Rick Franklin & Friends. The highlight was the reading of Maryland’s November 1st, 1864 Emancipation Proclamation by Ben Hawley, a re-enactor of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment B Company.
The group wanted to recognize Maryland’s unique history. The group’s letter writing campaign was followed by an appeal to the delegates for the Montgomery County District where Oakley Cabin is located– which did result in a sponsored bill. Unfortunately, that bill ultimately died in committee.
Not one to give up, Ben Hawley sparked State Senator Karen Montgomery’s interest and she sponsored a bill that was accepted and then made into law in 2013 just in time for Maryland’s Emancipation Proclamation’s 150th Anniversary (the Sesquicentennial). The effort took longer than the actual Civil War!
We know that archaeological education provides touchstones to the past--
Teresa Moyer, in “Reaching Out,” describes reaching out with maps, documents, artifacts and other objects to ‘hook’ students by transforming the tangible resources into stories that hold and capture them. Archaeological interpreters use concepts such as tangibles, intangibles, universals and opportunities. Ceramics, tin and clay marbles can come alive with imagination. In the process, such programs can create a “safe place” for talking about issues with roots in the past that students face today”
This year’s Maryland Emancipation Day at Oakley Cabin brought the past to the present—Visitors smelled and tasted the open-hearth cooking, heard the guitars plucking and listened to the words of the a Capello spirituals sung while hearing the …
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
WE, the people of the State of Maryland, grateful to Almighty-
God for our civil and religious liberty, and taking into our
serious consideration the best means of establishing a good
Constitution in this State for the sure foundation and more
permanent security thereof, declare:
ARTICLE 1. That we hold it to be self evident, that all men
are created equally free, that they are endowed” by their
Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life,
liberty, the enjoyment of the proceeds of their own labor, and
the pursuit of happiness.
For more about Montgomery Parks Archaeology: www.ParksArchaeology.org
For more about Oakley Cabin Events: www.HistoryintheParks.org
Written by: Heather Bouslog
About the author: Heather Bouslog is the Co-Lead of Montgomery Parks Archaeology Program. She is the senior archaeologist who leads the archaeology camp, volunteer program and public education program for Montgomery Parks Archaeology.
 Maryland Emancipation Proclamation Backstory courtesy of Susan Soderberg 2016
 Society for American Archaeology, www.saa.org; Society for Historical Archaeology, www.sha.org;
 Teresa Moyer 2007 “Reaching Out: Archaeological Interpretation for Education” in Archaeology for
Interpreters: A Guide to Knowledge of the Resource. Archaeology Program by Heather A. Hembrey and Barbara J. Little, National Park Service, Washington, D.C, http://www.cr.nps.gov/archaeology
 Archives of Maryland On-Line, Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention http://aomol.msa.maryland.gov
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