Rockville, MD (January 13, 2021) – For the first time since its conception, the Montgomery County History Conference, Montgomery History’s annual event, will be held entirely online. Since 2007, the conference has provided a venue for people of all ages and backgrounds to explore and celebrate the many facets of the county’s past that shape our community to this day.
As the conference goes virtual, Montgomery History is engaging attendees in new ways and exponentially increasing the amount of content available to registrants. This includes an interactive Trivia Night, three keynote sessions, twelve separate breakout sessions, and a musical performance—as well as the chance to purchase recordings for a whole year. While the conference provides the opportunity for dignitaries, politicians, business, and community leaders to come together with the public, it also makes local history relevant to Montgomery Countians in present day. Especially at this juncture, it is crucial for residents to understand the how and why behind current issues that plague our society.
Welcoming remarks this year will be delivered by the Honorable Connie Morella and the former County Executive Isiah Leggett, and session introducers will include various County Councilmembers, including Council President Tom Hucker (invited).
Keynote sessions are spread throughout the week. The first, on Saturday, January 23, will explore the history of Native Americans and their encounters with Europeans in the 17th century; the mid-week keynote on Wednesday, January 27 is an investigation into the national movement to remove Confederate statues from public spaces; and the third keynote on Saturday, January 30 will unveil the County’s process in creating the new, soon-to-be-opened Josiah Henson Museum.
The Trivia Night on Friday, January 22 will kick off the weeklong event, and attendees can enjoy testing their history knowledge while having the chance to win prizes from local businesses. The following Saturday, January 23, is the first full day and will include, for the second year in a row, a session in Spanish (with English interpretation available) on the history of Hispanic entrepreneurs in the community; a history of the local African American Gibson Grove community and present-day preservation efforts; and a session exploring fashion rationing trends in the 20th century, among others.
Saturday, January 30 includes a jam-packed schedule as well, with breakout sessions covering Black baseball town teams around the county and crowdsourcing the documentation of that history; detailed context and recommendations from a genealogist on how to conduct genealogy research on people who were enslaved; an overview from a Georgetown Prep professor on the school’s reconciliation process with its racist past; and so much more.
Finally, the event will close with a musical performance by musicologist and 2020 Strathmore artist-in-residence Jake Blount, whose unique delivery will combine folk and bluegrass music with storytelling in a discussion of musical traditions throughout Maryland’s history.
“If the events of the last year have taught us anything,” says Montgomery History Executive Director Matt Logan, “it is that learning about and understanding history is more vital than ever. We are pleased to bring so many diverse stories to the fore with each year’s conference and this year is no exception. Attendees will leave feeling inspired about being active citizens in their community and with a greater understanding of the circumstances that make us who we are.”
The 2021 Conference is sponsored by the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Montgomery College, Brown Advisory, the Kiplinger Family Foundation, Heritage Montgomery, M&T Bank, the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Montgomery County government, and myriad individual sessions sponsors.