Black Meetings and Tourism

May / June 2017

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The grand opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center was held on March 11 and 12. The National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service teamed up to provide special family- friendly Grand Opening events and activities at the site and a first look at the new visitor center. The Visitor Center is the premier feature of the national and state park and includes state-of-the-art, green elements such as bio-retention ponds, rain barrels, and vegetative roofs. It houses an exhibit hall, museum store, information desk, research library, and restrooms. The exhibit features information about Harriet Tubman's role as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and her work as a freedom fight- er, humanitarian, leader and liberator. Events at the Grand Opening included programs with Harriet Tubman Re-enactor Millicent Sparks; Harriet Haikus & Creative Writing Workshops with National Park Service Centennial Poet Laureate Dr. Sonia Sanchez; Historian Tony Cohen of the Menare Foundation leading simulated Underground Railroad journeys around the legacy garden that reveal escape secrets used by Tubman and other freedom seekers. Park Rangers provided talks on topics such as why Araminta Ross changed her name to Harriet Tubman, what skills made her a successful Underground Railroad conductor and the importance of community to enslaved people. Children's activities were offered including "Games Enslaved Children Played," about the significance and history of games that enslaved chil- dren played. Junior Ranger activities were also available. Tubman biographer, Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, the visitor center's his- torical consultant, presented a talk and book signing for Bound for the Promised Land: Portrait of an American Hero. In addition, architect Chris Elcock, of GWWO, Inc., Architects, presented a talk about the hidden symbolism in the Visitor Center building and surrounding landscape. "The story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad is one that captivates people of all ages and backgrounds," said Josie Fernandez, acting superintendent of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. "Harriet Tubman is a true Maryland treasure and who remains relevant to this very day," said Maryland Park Service Manager Dana Paterra. "Her path to freedom was wrought with peril but she persevered and overcame many struggles to become an American icon." HARRIET TUBMAN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD VISITOR CENTER and free weekend day car rentals. Rezgo, which offers a suite of comprehensive tour and activity operator software designed to help grow and manage business, is providing NTA members with a 40 percent discount on the software, annual staff training and complimentary co-branding, as well as a free month of service. Members have access to tools to manage inventory and revenues in real time. An integrated customer-man- agement tool keeps all interactions and bookings in one convenient place. "The NTA Member Solutions Advisory Group was particularly interest- ed in obtaining a special AvisBudget discount for members and their clients," said NTA President Pam Inman. "And on the IT front, if customers book online, Rezgo ensures they have a positive experience no matter what device they may use." "We feel strongly that providing the best possible technology to NTA members will help them increase their opportunities to do business globally and to improve their overall business performance," said Rezgo CEO Stephen Joyce. "We are really excited to make a difference for NTA and its members." To make a reservation with Avis, visit or call (800) 331- 1212. To book with Budget, visit or call (800) 527-0700. For additional information on either benefit, visit B M & T ••• May/June 2017 ••• 7

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