Explore the Arts and History of La Plata, MD

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum in La Plata, MD
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum in La Plata, MD

Charles County shows its love for art and history in the area's culture opportunities. Museums, theaters, historial sites and art programs help showcase the county's rich heritage, which dates from 1658.

In La Plata, the African-American Heritage Society Museum houses 17th-century artifacts and documents from the slavery era. Nearby Port Tobacco is the original home of the Indian Village of Potopaco, and it offers tours of a one-room schoolhouse and reconstructed courthouse saluting its 1600s heyday. Port Tobacco was also the home of Thomas Stone, a lawyer and politician who signed the Declaration of Independence. Tourists can explore the Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Stone’s sprawling estate that includes a tobacco plantation, colonial mansion and 19th-century farm buildings.

Dive Into the Arts

Community theater thrives in Charles County, with groups such as the Port Tobacco Players and the Hard Bargain Players entertaining audiences in La Plata and Accokeek. The Black Box Theatre at The Indian Head Center for the Arts gives residents another venue in which to perform, with regularly sold-out events featuring music, theater and open mic performances.

Meanwhile, the Charles County Arts Alliance helps strengthen the area arts community by promoting nonprofit arts agencies through its weekly newsletter that provides information about upcoming arts activities.

Formed in 1987, the Charles County Arts Alliance also sponsors River Artsfest, a popular annual festival held on the Village Green in Indian Head. The daylong event features musicians, artists and performers from all over Maryland and attracts 2,000 visitors each year.

More Historic Gems

The small town of Benedict played a big role in America’s struggle for independence. During the War of 1812, British troops landed in Benedict, marched to Washington, D.C. and burned the city.

One of the best-known stories among locals is that of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, who was thrust into the national spotlight when he mended the leg of assassin John Wilkes Booth the day after Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln. Mudd was sentenced to life in prison but was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869.

Visitors can tour the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum, which includes Mudd’s home, a gift shop, kitchen, exhibit building and outbuildings on 10 acres.

Learn more about the arts in La Plata, MD.

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