Tubman Underground Visitor Centre opens


The life, impact and achievements of Harriet Tubman, the well-known African American humanitarian and abolitionist, has been commemorated in the newly built Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, in America.

hsd has designed the exhibitions in the new visitor centre, which opened to the public on 10th March 2017 to coincide with Harriet Tubman Day, an American holiday in honour of the anti-slavery activist who died on that date in 1913.

Harriet Tubman is an icon in American history.  To help visitors appreciate her many accomplishments hsd created an emotive experience in collaboration with the National Park Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Tourism, GWWO Inc. Architects, and the local community.

The visitor centre is located on a 17-acre plot and is surrounded by Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. There are very few structures remaining from Tubman’s time in Maryland therefore the landscape, which has only changed a little, is a vital interpretive tool. Tubman knew the natural environment of the Eastern Shore intimately and used her knowledge of the landscape to lead approximately 70 people out of slavery.

Dave Maddocks, Senior Project Designer at hsd and lead on the Harriet Tubman project, commented, “This woman of action and success is an inspiring role model for visitors of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. In response, our design team has developed a universally accessible and relevant exhibition in which the client and Tubman’s community can take pride.”