About the Friends

The Friends of Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum, Inc. is a non-profit community organization founded in March 1985 to support and ensure the development of the historical park and museum. At the request of local historians, The Friends, and community leaders, Baltimore County purchased the lands that had formerly been the Banneker homestead. On June 9, 1998, Baltimore County joined with The Friends and other guests at a ribbon cutting ceremony where the Park and Museum were dedicated. In June of 2018, the Friends and Museum celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

Our Mission

The mission of The Friends of Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum, Inc. is to provide well-researched educational, historical, and cultural programs and exhibits regarding the life of Benjamin Banneker.

Additionally, The Friends endeavor to contribute to the public’s understanding of the factual aspects of Benjamin Banneker’s life and times, and to preserve his African American historic legacy through archaeology, interpretive trails, events, and museum exhibits.

The Friends Founders

“Chance has often a great share in people’s fortunes; why then should it be thought strange that it sometimes also is concerned in their reputations?

From “The Commonplace Book of
the Kentucky Philosopher,”
Banneker’s Almanac for 1794

John McGrain

Baltimore County’s official historian. Until his discovery (1976) of the actual land records for Banneker’s property, the exact location of the Banneker farmstead was not known. It was the Mr. McGrain’s discovery that led to the archaeological investigation of the area, which uncovered two foundations of Banneker family cabins.

Jean Walsh

One of the founders and original members of The Friends of Benjamin Banneker Historical Park. A noted Catonsville historian and newspaper editor, Ms. Walsh was among the earliest voices for the establishment of the Banneker Historical Park.

Charles Wagandt

A descendant of the Dickey family, owners of the mill in Oella. Mr. Wagandt stimulated and encouraged community and government interest in the purchase of the property for honoring Benjamin Banneker.

Kurt Kugelberg

A former Baltimore County employee, he represented the interest of Baltimore County Government and helped spearhead the county’s acquisition of the land parcels that formerly comprised the Banneker homestead. Kurt Anders Kugelberg also served on the board of the Maryland Greenways Commission, which worked with state agencies, local governments, land trusts, and citizens to form a system of interconnecting recreational trails and wildlife corridors that link protective buffers along Maryland’s waterways. These greenways – corridors of open space that follow streams, ridge-tops, rivers, or other linear features – can be used for recreation and conservation. They may be publicly owned for recreation and parks, or privately owned as wildlife habitat or to enhance water quality.

Sam Hopkins

A descendant of George Ellicott, donated his energies, community development knowledge, and long hours of involvement to help bring the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum into existence. For more information click here.

Adrienne Jones

Formerly a member of the board for many years until she was elected to the Maryland State House of Delegates for the 10th Legislative District. She worked diligently to help get state funding for the Banneker Historical Park.