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Monday, 29 August 2011
A damn shame

The Free Lance-Star reports that Fredericksburg is now seeking a buyer for land where the U.S. National Slavery Museum was supposed to be built. Unfortunately, this project has been fraught with deception and questionable activity since its inception in 2002. The deadline for museum officials to pay more than $215,000 in back taxes has passed with no action and all attempts to contact the organizers have been ignored. In addition, all financial and artifact contributors have been cut off as the staff affiliated with this museum fled town unbeknownst to anyone. Back in 2007, the museum opened a Spirit of Freedom Exhibit Garden (see below), but never started construction of an actual building. I visited this site a couple years ago as part of my “Naked Historian” video series and was surprised to find it locked up and abandoned. The site has deteriorated tremendously since then. You can compare my 2009 video with FLS photographer Suzanne Carr Rossi’s photograph to see how neglected it has become. This museum had great promise and potential. I was very much looking forward to the interpretations of slave life during the Colonial era and Revolution as that period of slavery tends to be neglected in favor of the Civil War. As a local resident and member of another museum board, I seriously doubt that neither this site, nor any site will result in a U.S. National Slavery Museum. (On a related-note, you may be interested in some of my own writings on the subject of interpreting slavery in a museum setting to include Race and Remembrance at Monticello.)

Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi/The Free Lance-Star

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 11:26 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 29 August 2011 11:43 AM EDT
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