On October 26, 1723 Maryland’s colonial assembly passed The Free School Act, establishing “free schools” in Maryland’s existing twelve counties. The only one of these schools still standing, the Annearrundell County Free School, located at 1298 Lavall Drive, Davidsonville 21035, commemorates its 300th anniversary, to the day, on Thursday, October 26, 2023 at 11am.
The event features a plaque unveiling and special remarks by Anne Arundel County Board of Education Vice President Robert Silkworth, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, emcee Dr. Tim Tooten, Education Reporter for WBAL-TV and other distinguished guests. The Meade Senior High School JROTC Color Guard will be in attendance and the Meade Senior High School Chorus will perform both the Star-Spangled Banner and Lift Every Voice & Sing.
Then, on Saturday, October 28, 2023 everyone is invited to attend The Free School 300th Family Fun Festival from 1-4pm. Kids can go back to school, back in time, at Maryland’s oldest one room schoolhouse! Guests will enjoy meeting 18th-century schoolteachers, making authentic arts & crafts and playing “no-tech” games of the period including jacks, marbles, quoits, mystic sticks, cup-and-ball and hoop & stick. The festival also features docent tours, storytelling and American colonial-era refreshments such as ginger cookies, shortbread and cider.
Both activities commemorating the Free School 300th are 100% free and open to the public; events are tented and go rain or shine.
The Free School operates as a living history museum operated under the all-volunteer auspices of the Anne Arundel Retired School Personnel Association (AARSPA). AARSPA’s mission is to inspire future generations of students and educators by telling the story of The Free School, and using its history as a teachable moment that highlights the importance of a free, public education for all.