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Background and Priorities

The Mary Kay Harper Center for Suburban Studies was established in 2008 within Montgomery County Historical Society to honor Mary Kay Harper when she retired in 2008. Mary Kay served the Montgomery County Historical Society (now Montgomery History) for over a quarter century, including 18 years as Executive Director.

Although the Society’s traditional emphasis was on Montgomery County’s more distant past, Mary Kay encouraged the organization to expand its focus to include the County’s more recent history as a national model of 20th Century suburban planning, land use, and development.

The Center for Suburban Studies preserves Montgomery County’s suburban history, brings a scholarly focus to its study, and designs/sponsors programs and activities to interpret and communicate this important history.

Current priorities of the Center include:

• Developing an online guide to sources of information on the suburbanization on Montgomery County, MD that supports study, research and interpretation by residents and scholars.

• Preserving the knowledge, experiences, and points of view of the planners, developers, builders, architects, conservationists, leaders, etc. who played major roles in the County’s suburbanization.

• Designing and/or sponsoring programs and activities that communicate the County’s suburban past, present, and future.