• Sun beginning to set at Harpers Ferry, as seen from Maryland Heights. Photo by NPS Volunteer Buddy Secor.

    Harpers Ferry

    National Historical Park WV,VA,MD

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Temporary Suspension of Reference Collection Research

    Due to the park archives and research room/library space move, new public research requests will not be filled until at least June 30th, 2014.

  • Change in Park Hours

    The park is currently open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last shuttle bus departing Lower Town at 6:45 p.m. More »

John Brown 150th Commemoration

(Harpers Ferry, West Virginia)--Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the 150th Quad-State Committee, from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland, are planning and coordinating a range of commemoration events. Officials say events include dramatic productions, exhibits, academic lectures, special tours and much more.

Links to additional information:

John Brown Remembered: An Educational Symposium
Matrix schedule of park events Oct 16-18
Media/Filming Information
More information on Sesquicentennial Events
Parking information for local residents and lower town businesses

Planning Your Visit:

Parking Considerations:

Visitors must park at the Cavalier Heights Visitor Center parking areas and board shuttle buses to the event. The National Park Service expects this to be a busy event, so plan to arrive early and allow for transportation time to reach the event. Parking is on a first come, first serve basis and when the lots are full, parking will be closed until spaces open up.

Maximum crowds are expected for this event. We ask your patience when arriving and leaving the event.

Only small lap-sized coolers are allowed on buses, lawn chairs are not permitted.

Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the park at any time.

It is primarily an outdoor venue and will be held rain or shine. Dress appropriately for the weather.

Commemorative items, books and music will be sold at the Harpers Ferry Historical Association’s Sales Tent and in the bookshop.

This is a fee free event.

MEDIA ALERT:

All media personnel will need to have a PRESS ID to gain access for coverage of the event.

Schedule of Events: (This schedule of events is subject to change.)

Friday, October 16

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Book Signings (Author Tent)
Numerous authors will be available to sign their books.

4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. John Brown as Art (Family & Youth Tent)
Creative design contest opening and exhibition: View the creative work of K-12 graders and see their interpretations of John Brown and his raid at Harpers Ferry. Student work will be displayed for all to enjoy. Awards ceremony at 6:30 pm Friday.

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Living History Programs (Arsenal Square)
Throughout the evening living history stations will host events and activities about John Brown’s Raid.

6:00 p.m - 7:30 p.m. West Virginia John Brown Sesquicentennial Film Discussion (John Brown Museum)

7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. John Brown’s Body (Shenandoah Stage)
Stephen Vincent Benet’s “John Brown’s Body’’ comes to life on stage with a talented cast from the Jefferson High School Drama Department.

8:00 p.m. “Proceed to the Ferry” (offsite at Kennedy Farm)
150th Anniversary Procession of six-mile trek from Kennedy Farm to Harpers Ferry Pre-registration Required

9:00 p.m. “The Eve of the Raid” (Ranger Programs Sign)
A lantern lit walk of Harpers Ferry that sets the stage of the eve of John Brown’s Raid.

10:00 – 10:30 p.m. “Proceed to the Ferry” (Arsenal Square)
150th Anniversary Procession from Kennedy Farm arrives at Harpers Ferry with closing ceremony.

Saturday, October 17

10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Living History Programs (Arsenal Square)
Throughout the day living history stations will host events and activities about John Brown’s Raid.

10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. John Brown Creative Activities (Family & Youth Tent: Look here for great activities)
Make your own historical puppet; help create a quilt, or a masterpiece of art. Are you a master of disguise? Find out what it takes to conceal your identity! Read All About It! Become a history sleuth. Hunt down the stories of John Brown’s raid and write your own newspaper headline! You can check out the art and poetry displays made by kids or move the John Brown Fort from Harpers Ferry to the World’s Fair in Chicago…and back gain!

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.Book Signings (Author Tent)
Numerous authors will be available to sign their books.

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. USPS Cancellation Station (Near Author Tent)
The United States Postal Service will host a cancellation station with a special commemorative postmark for the John Brown Raid Sesquicentennial.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. In the Footsteps of John Brown (Ranger Programs Sign)
Join a park ranger for this special 150th anniversary hike. Discover that the raid actually covered several miles, over 30 buildings and included hundreds of people. Two miles & two hours of walking.

10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. “The Centennial of John Brown’s Raid”(Author Tent)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Chief Historian, Dennis Frye, discusses the commemoration of John Brown’s Raid in 1959.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. “John Brown: An Address by Frederick Douglass” (Shenandoah Stage)
Actor and historian Fred Morsell presents Douglass’ famous 1881 address on John Brown.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Premier of John Brown Travelogue (John Brown Museum; Allies For Freedom)

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. “Reacting to John Brown’s Raid” (Arsenal Square)
A living history event that features how the citizens, local militia, U.S. troops, and the voters reacted to John Brown`s raid. U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.“John Brown’s Family Values” (Shenandoah Stage)
A keynote Address by Dr. Evan Carton, author, historian, Founder & Director, University of Texas Humanities Institute

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.U.S. Marine Band Concert (Arsenal Square)

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.“Reacting to John Brown’s Raid” (Arsenal Square)
A living history event that features how the citizens, local militia, U.S. troops, and the voters reacted to John Brown`s raid. U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. “Tattered Souls” (Shenandoah Stage)
The premiere performance of this John Brown Raid Sesquicentennial theatrical jazz production by composer and arranger Delfeayo Marsalis.

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. In the Footsteps of John Brown (Ranger Program Sign)
Join a park ranger for this special 150th anniversary hike. Discover that the raid actually covered several miles, over 30 buildings and included hundreds of people. Two miles & two hours of walking.

4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.U.S. Marine Band Concert (Arsenal Square)

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.“Sword of the Spirit” (Shenandoah Stage)
Play based on original letters of John and Mary Brown and the final days of Brown’s life, written and produced by Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino.

9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. John Brown: ‘A Caged Tiger’”(Ranger Programs Sign)
This lantern-lit tour presents events in the engine house the night before Brown’s capture.

Sunday, October 18

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.Walk of the Descendants (Ranger Programs Sign)
This commemorative walk follows the footsteps of John Brown and his men during their raid on Harpers Ferry. Descendants of townspeople, militia, marines, raiders and John Brown are invited to participate with readings of their ancestor’s involvement during the raid. A moment of silence and a carnation will be offered in memory of each ancestor.

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Living History Programs (Arsenal Square)
Throughout the day living history stations will host events and activities about John Brown’s Raid.

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Book Signings (Author Tent)
Numerous authors will be available to sign their books.

10:00 – 6:00 p.m. John Brown Creative Activities (Family & Youth Tent: See inset for great activities)

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. “The Final Assault” (Arsenal Square)
150th anniversary of U.S. Marine assault on the U. S. Armory Fire Engine House. U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company

10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. “John Brown’s Place in History” (Author Tent)
Noted John Brown scholars Dr. Evan Carton & Dr. Paul Finkelman discuss Brown and his place in history.

11:00 – 12:00 noon “At All Times Ready” (John Brown Fort)
History of the U.S. Marine Corps at Harpers Ferry & Marine Band Concert. U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. In the Footsteps of John Brown (Ranger Programs Sign)
Join a park ranger for this special 150th anniversary hike. Discover that the raid actually covered several miles, over 30 buildings and included hundreds of people. Two miles & two hours of walking.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. John Brown Travelogue (John Brown Museum)

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. “John Brown’s Body’’ by Stephen Vincent Benet (Shenandoah Stage) Commemorative readings from the Pulitzer Prize-winning work, featuring former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, special guest readers, and music by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra String Ensemble

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. “At All Times Ready” (John Brown Fort)
History of the U.S. Marine Corps at Harpers Ferry & Marine Band Concert. U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Keynote Address (Shenandoah Stage)
The Honorable William T. Coleman Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. “John Brown and the Women in his Life” (Author Tent)
Dr. Peggy Russo, Penn State Mont Alto, discusses Brown and the women who shaped his life.

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Procession and Wreath Laying at Engine House for USMC Pvt. Luke Quinn (John Brown Fort) Featuring Lt. General G.R. Christmas, USMC Ret., President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Music of Sword of the Spirit (Shenandoah Stage)
Songs and stories of John Brown by Greg Artzner &Terry Leonino

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

The Appalachian Trail runs through Harpers Ferry. A short walk along the trail from the lower town to the C&O Canal will take you from West Virginia to Maryland in just a few minutes.