Using the Artifacts That Aren’t in Museums

The NY Times  posted this article about the importance of Slave graves as a means of telling slave stories with objects outside of historic plantations and slave quarters.

When the AASLH shared it, there was a comment about the cities in which the graves are located having an interesting opportunity to create a larger living museum. The poster suggested a walking tour of African American history to include the graves.

I’m wondering how much preservation work it would take to allow such an idea to take shape? Or would this be an instance in which too much handle puts an object in danger of losing its integrity, like the brick fingerprints at Stagville.


2 thoughts on “Using the Artifacts That Aren’t in Museums

  1. Personally, I think this could be a perfect opportunity to crowd source Public History work. In my hometown, there are numerous slave burial sites hidden under weeds. We as locals know they are there. Using GPS, a crowd sourcing initiative could at least document the location of the grave sites. Photographs could be taken and uploaded to cloud storage for evaluation. Curators across the nation could then have access to the locations and conditions of potential grave sites to be preserved.


  2. I agree with Josh on that this could be a perfect opportunity to allow people to get another understand of American slavery.

    To answer your question, would the walking tour danger the integrity of the graves? I do think that there is a possible chance to compromise the integrity of the graves if museums choose to do a walking tour. However, I think this could be a very impactful moment to allow the voices of slaves to be heard and build an emotionally connecting with people who never had the ability to achieve freedom. Further, I think if museums allow walking tours they need to investigate methods to keep the graves and the grounds somewhat untouched.


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