Slavery at Monticello Revealed Through 3 Online Exhibits
- By Kathy McHoes
- February 27, 2012
American cultural institutions have long been challenged by the dissonance between the celebratory narrative of America’s Founding Fathers and that of slavery’s devastating impact on enslaved African-Americans. Nowhere is this paradox more acute than at the plantation of Thomas Jefferson, third president and the owner of hundreds of slaves. Based on more than 30 years of archaeological, curatorial, and oral history research, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation now brings unprecedented breadth and depth to these stories via two new public exhibitions and their companion websites.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation worked with Night Kitchen Interactive to create three online exhibitions presenting historical narratives collected from the descendents of enslaved families and illuminating stories of slavery at the Monticello plantation.
The three components include an enhanced online presence of the Getting Word oral history project, which includes transcripts, audio, and a selection of videos from the 170 participant interviews. Other components introduce the Mulberry Row interactive exhibition, which shares the foundation’s new interpretation of the people and spaces of this hub of agricultural and industrial enterprise, and an online exhibition to support the 2012 exhibit, Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty organized in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Click on any of the links above or read the case study to learn more about these insightful projects.