1 of 8 overlapping national parks, the 4,000-acre Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, was established by the U.S. Congress in 1963 and placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. While it is a relatively new park, it receives approximately 500,000 visits each year (as compared to 15,000,000 annual visits to the Washington, DC area). The park is a relatively unknown “diamond in the rough” in the greater DC area.
Over 200 years of significant stories are told at the park. Pioneers, inventors, soldiers and civil rights leaders struggled here to change the face of the country. While there is a special emphasis on the story of John Brown, the park offers many opportunities for guests to enjoy history and science in a unique and personal way.
Guests can take a self-guided trip to the park or experience expert Ranger-guided education programs, hands-on living history, science field studies, civic leadership workshops, historical interpretive re-enactors, who work and dress to demonstrate aspects of life in the past, and many other opportunities.
Guests can churn butter, play lawn croquet, tend a garden, become or talk to a Union soldier, hear the rattle of muskets, hike to Jefferson Rock, visit Mr. Harper’s grave, or stroll through silent ruins. There are living history Rangers and events year round. Special group experiential learning programs can be accommodated.
Several historical museums occupy the authentic 19th century buildings, the oldest of which is Mr. Robert Harper’s original house. Mr. Harper operated his ferry in 1747 and obtained a land patent from the Virginia Legislature in 1751. Harpers Ferry is not manufactured antiquity.