• Sepia collage of Harriet Tubman portrait over a 19th century map of Maryland

    Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad

    National Monument Maryland

Frequently Asked Questions

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Download the comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions.

What is the difference between and national park and a national monument?
The difference is usually in the way they are designated. National monuments are generally proclaimed by the President of the United States under authority granted in the 1906 Antiquities Act. National parks are created through Congressional legislation. They are all part of the same system and in 1970, Congress clarified and elaborated on the 1916 National Park Service Organic Act saying that all units in the system have equal legal standing. Park units have different designations depending on the type of park or a description of its resources (national park, national historical park, national historic site, national seashore, etc.).

What are some features of Harriet Tubman National Monument?
The national monument boundary encompasses an approximately 25,000-acre mosaic of federal, state, and private lands in Dorchester County, Maryland, that are significant to Tubman's early years and evoke her life while enslaved and as a conductor of the Underground Railroad. There are no park facilities on these sites. The national monument includes:

Stewart's Canal, dug by hand by free and enslaved people between 1810 and the 1832 for commercial transportation. Tubman learned important outdoor skills navigating the canal and when she worked in nearby timbering operations with her father, Ben Ross. Stewart's Canal is part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and, while part of the national monument, will continue to be owned, operated and managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Home site of Jacob Jackson, a free African American man who received a coded letter to help Tubman communicate secretly with her family. He was a conduit for a message to alert her three brothers, Henry, Benjamin, and Robert that Tubman would soon come to guide their escape from slavery to the north. The Jacob Jackson Home Site was donated to the National Park Service by the Conservation Fund for inclusion in the new national monument.

What is there to do right now at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument?
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument is a new national park area. It has no planned park facilities. It is a park in progress and in the coming years, you will see services added to the park done in cooperation with Maryland's planned Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park which is expected to open in 2015.

Today, you can explore Underground Railroad history and Harriet Tubman's story by enjoying the programs, facilities, and events sponsored and operated by our partners.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, Maryland: http://www.harriettubmanbyway.org
Harriet Tubman Museum, Cambridge, Maryland: http://harriettubmanorganization.org/
Sailwinds Visitor Center, Cambridge, Maryland: http://www.tourdorchester.org

When can I expect the national monument to have a full schedule of programming?
Some limited programming may start in cooperation with Maryland's Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, which is expected to open in 2015.

How big is the national monument?
The boundary encompasses 25,000 acres of a mix of federal, state and private lands. Be aware that land within the national monument is a mix of federal, state, and privately held land; please respect private property.

Anything else I need to know?
Mobile phone coverage can be unreliable in this area.


Did You Know?

Black and white photo of Harriet Tubman, date unknown. The Granger Collection, New York

Tubman was born Araminta Ross and was called “Minty” as a child. She changed her name to “Harriet” around the time of her marriage to John Tubman.