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Catalogue Transcend.pdf

Decolonising the Colonial Gaze

Decolonising the Colonial Gaze

This collection documents the work of a community-based partnership between the Antislavery Usable Past project and Yole!Africa in Goma and Lubumbashi. The project is based on an archive of photography produced by the British missionary Alice Seeley Harris during her time in the Congo Free State in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The project has used the visual archive as a basis for working with young people to explore the history and legacies of colonialism during the time at which the Congo Free State was under the personal ownership of King Leopold II of Belgium.

Defining what the ‘antislavery usable past’ of these images is raises questions of power and representation. Who gets to decide? The writing of history is a powerful tool – who is included and excluded from the story, indeed, who gets to write it in the first place, is a reflection of the inequalities of the society within which that history is produced. Working with a colonial archive in Britain - a former centre of empire - raises issues about who gets to access history. For formerly colonised people their histories, or at least the portion of their histories relating to the colonial experience, are often found in the archives, museums, and art galleries of the former colonising power. Alice’s photographs, for example, eventually became part of the archive of the British and Foreign Antislavery Society, which subsequently became the present-day NGO Antislavery International. The archive is held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. For people resident within the former spaces of empire, the physical impracticality of visiting the collection means a separation from the objects, documents, and images which represent their past.

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Bercy Salon

Letitia Kamaye: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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The Bash

Letitia Kamayi: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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P.O.T

Letitia Kamayi: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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Kings

Letitia Kamayi: You Should Know Me

Artist’s Statement Kongo: You Should Know Me was my selfish way of learning more about my past, my ancestors through the images of my kinfolk. Unfortunately, the archive institutions I approached all asked for paperwork I could not supply; money I could not pay and questions I did not understand how to answer.

Only one missionary based in Ghent; the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, opened its doors and visual records to me and through them I was able to see a small percentage of the Congolese story before me. Though happy to have this access, I was not too overjoyed by everything I saw. There was a host of missing stories not recorded, stories that my family and friends families experienced. Chapters and verses missing from the identity of the Congolese narrative. Thus Kongo: You Should Know Me evolved to Kongo Archives.

Kongo Archives is extremely personal to me not merely because I am Congolese but also because there is a lot about my country I do not know and am searching for. I believe it is also something desperately needed, especially as our country’s political structure hangs in the global balance.

It’s a necessity even!

Culture; traditions; customs; language and pretty much everything has always been passed down orally through the stories in African customs, and now too many of those who did the passing down are fast passing away, taking with them all our history and rightful heritage. Taking away my rightful heritage, my story, my future and connection to a national identity.

It is a cliché to say, however Kongo Archives gives a voice to every Congolese person, travelling further than just those within the confines of the project. The archives is the stories of the past, the present and a storage unit where future stories can be placed when they become part of our inevitable past.

It [Kongo Archives] is here to topple the power structures of the single story of Congolese identity, working to reform the world’s understanding of, and have embedded notions questioned of a people whose stories and lives were second to the arrival of their colonial history and identity killers.

Bringing light to the stories which humanise the “so-called beasts from the dark continent” which continues till this day to suffer from decades of war and conflict whilst also being the wealthiest in natural minerals; culture and fight for peace one day.

Being Congolese I see our hidden presence in the “strangest” places, though this should not be a “strange” sight, this is the importance which representation brings! Change to people’s (and my own) opinions and views of those they are not well informed about. Kongo Archives will bring light to the multilayers of the Congolese people both residing in and out of The Motherland. It is important to have this representation to solidify the very absent Congolese presence outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in places such as London; Paris and Belgium as a positive display of unity; positive contribution and patriotism.

Kongo Archives aims to bring the Congolese heritage full circle through exposing the parts of our (Congolese) past and current state the world has and continues to fail to reveal. Breaking down the stereotypes of the poorest; “most dangerous place on earth to be a woman” to a country with a vast potential of peace; unconditional source of love and fight given the chance for change within its power structures.

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Yole!Africa: Student Photographs

This collection documents the work of a community-based partnership between the Antislavery Usable Past project and Yole!Africa in Goma and Lubumbashi. The project is based on an archive of photography produced by the British missionary Alice Seeley Harris during her time in the Congo Free State in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The project has used the visual archive as a basis for working with young people to explore the history and legacies of colonialism during the time at which the Congo Free State was under the personal ownership of King Leopold II of Belgium.

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Yole!Africa: Student Photographs

This collection documents the work of a community-based partnership between the Antislavery Usable Past project and Yole!Africa in Goma and Lubumbashi. The project is based on an archive of photography produced by the British missionary Alice Seeley Harris during her time in the Congo Free State in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The project has used the visual archive as a basis for working with young people to explore the history and legacies of colonialism during the time at which the Congo Free State was under the personal ownership of King Leopold II of Belgium.

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Yole!Africa: Student Photographs

This collection documents the work of a community-based partnership between the Antislavery Usable Past project and Yole!Africa in Goma and Lubumbashi. The project is based on an archive of photography produced by the British missionary Alice Seeley Harris during her time in the Congo Free State in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The project has used the visual archive as a basis for working with young people to explore the history and legacies of colonialism during the time at which the Congo Free State was under the personal ownership of King Leopold II of Belgium.

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Seychelles Natural History Museum

The Seychelles Natural History Museum explores the history of the Seychelles, from the island's geological development to the Second World War. It is located in Victoria, the capital city, next to the main post office. The museum covers botany, zoology, geology and anthropology, as well as military and social history. It receives around 1,500 visitors per year, largely from overseas.

The museum has one gallery that is divided into thematic areas. Seven prominent aspects of Seychelles’ natural heritage are showcased through displays with artefacts and small dioramas. These include the flora and fauna of the island, religious practices and the movement for independence. Other areas examine traditional crafts and innovative inventions.

One of the sections in the exhibition examines the system of slavery that thrived in the Seychelles during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The majority of the enslaved were forcibly transported from Madagascar and Mozambique to work on the plantations. The display includes instruments of brutality, including an iron slave collar with bells that made escape impossible for the wearer. It also includes archival material, such as newspaper advertisements offering slaves for sale. The section finishes with an inspiring story of the enslaved resistance leader Pompey.

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National Museum Afroperuano

The National Museum Afroperuano (or National Museum of Afro-Peruvian History) opened in 2009. Housed in the 'House of Thirteen Coins', in Lima, the museum is dedicated to acquiring, preserving and interpreting objects relating to African history in Peru.

The exhibitions begin by examining the arrival of Africans in Peru, via the Portuguese slave trade. The interpretation explores the process of enslavement and transportation alongside the nature of plantation work and the treatment of the enslaved by the Portuguese. A range of artefacts, artist representations and artefacts visually present these issues to visitors.

The exhibition examines the abolition of slavery in 1856 following the rise of Simon Bolivar and the independence of Peru. Objects and photographs then depict the influences of African culture in different aspects of Peruvian life, including music, dress, art and food.

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House of Negritude and Human Rights

The House of Negritude and Human Rights opened in 1971 in the former Champagney town hall. It relocated to its present site in 1995. The museum was founded after local historian René Simonin discovered a document in the Haute-Saône departmental archives. This document is known as 'Article 29' of the Champagney Register of Grievances. In 1789, the inhabitants of Champagney, drew up their list of grievances at the request of King Louis XVI. This document would be used to prepare the meeting of the Estates General that would open the process of the French Revolution. 'Article 29' was a one-of-a-kind request to abolish black slavery on humanitarian grounds.

The museum is a tribute to the "Champagnerots" (people of Champagney) who made this extraordinary request. Text interpretation explores the context of the request, examining the french slave trade and the movement for abolition in other European countries in the nineteenth century. There are artefacts that highlight the terrible conditions faced by the enslaved, including a replica slave ship and items recovered from plantations in Haiti.

The interpretation also goes on to examine other forms of slavery in the contemporary world. This is embedded into the museum's popular education programmes that reflect on the development and importance of human rights around the world.

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National History Museum

The National History Museum of Mauritius opened in 1948. It is housed in an French colonial villa built in 1772 that was formerly used as a military hospital, a naval museum and the Museum of Historical Souvenirs. It is managed by the Mauritius Museums Council, under the governance of the Ministry of Arts and Culture. The museum explores the social and cultural history of Mauritius; from its discovery by the Portuguese at the start of the sixteenth century, through its successive colonisations by the Dutch, French and British, up to the end of the nineteenth century.

The first floor of the museum exhibits the Dutch, French and Anglo-French wars. Each room explores a different era with artefacts from the period; these range from furniture and decorative arts to weapons, maritime equipment and ceramics.

On the second floor of the museum there is an exhibition dedicated to the British rule of Mauritius, from 1810 until 1968. The interpretation examines the transformation of Mauritius from a maritime economy to an agricultural one, with a key focus on the production of sugar. Alongside this is a discussion of the use of slavery and the development of the slave trade, indentured labour and Indian immigration. Artefacts here include agricultural tools, paintings and drawings depicting the changing landscape and the workforce, and archival documents.

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Rokeby Museum

The Rokeby Museum presents a 'nationally significant Underground Railroad story tucked inside a quintessential Vermont experience.' The museum was established in 1961, and covers 100 acres, with ten historic buildings. Originally a prosperous merino wool farm, Rokeby was owned by the Robinson family during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The family were abolitionists, and provided a safe haven for fugitive slaves from the American South.

The Underground Railroad Education Centre which marks the entrance to the museum houses the sites permanent museum exhibitions. 'Free & Safe: The Underground Railroad in Vermont' tells the stories of Jesse and Simon; two fugitive slaves who found shelter at Rokeby during the 1830s. Using a range of historic documents and artefacts the exhibition traces their journey from slavery to freedom. It also introduces the Robinson family and their support of the American abolition movement. The use of audio and film, recreating some of the voices of the exhibition's main characters, brings the history to life for visitors.

The rest of the museum is made up of historic buildings, including the main farmhouse, that have been restored and refurnished in order to provide visitors with a glimpse as to what life would have been like on the farm when Jesse and Simon were there. It is thought that both would have spent a significant length of time working on the farm before moving on towards Canada.

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Mobee Royal Family Orginal Slave Relics Museum

The Mobee Royal Family Original Slave Relics Museum is a small museum housed in a nineteenth century colonial building. It showcases the role of the local 'Chief Mobee' in the enslavement of local Africans during the transatlantic slave trade, as well as the role of his son (and successor) in abolishing slavery in the area.

The museum houses one exhibition which discusses the arrival of Europeans to the Badagry area and the origins of the trade in human beings. Artefacts highlight the brutal nature of the capture and the enslavement of African people. These include yokes, chains, a mouth lock that presented the captives from speaking, and handcuffs for children. Other objects are examples of trade goods that were received by the Chief in exchange for a supply of people. Text interpretation also provides visitors with information about the terrible conditions faced by the enslaved during the Middle Passage, and images provide representations of life on the plantations.

The museum is often visited as part of a 'Black History Tour' with the former slave market and the Black History Museum.

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San Diego Museum of Man

The San Diego Museum of Man is an anthropological museum that originated from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal. Over the last century, the museum has expanded and developed in its original buildings at San Diego's Balboa Park. It took its present name in 1978. The museum's mission is to inspire human connections by exploring human experiences, around the world and through the ages.

The museum features twelve permanent exhibitions that explore a range of themes linking to human development and cultures. These include 'Ancient Egypt', 'Living with Animals' which explores the human practice of keeping pets, and 'PostSecret' which examines the concept of secrecy throughout societies.

Another permanent exhibition, 'Race: Are we so different?' explores the distinctions of race and the origins of racism in America. A timeline maps instances of racism throughout the nation, and includes focusses on Native American communities, as well as enslaved Africans, Civil Rights and the Jim Crow era. Text interpretation also includes biological facts about race and genetics to address long held historic views about hierarchies of race.

Initially a temporary exhibition, it was so successful with visitors the museum decided to house it permanently. 'Race: Are we so different?' was developed in conjunction with the American Anthropological Association and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The exhibition features heavily in the museum's school programmes in providing a platform to promote discussion of feeling, thinking, acting, and reflecting on race and identity, and to raise awareness and build positive relationships across communities in America today.

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Museum of Saint Helena

The Museum of Saint Helena originated as a small natural history collection in 1854. Over the last 150 years it has moved three times before being officially opened in its current site in 2002 to mark the 500th anniversary of the island's discovery. It is housed in an eighteenth-century former power station in the island's capital, Jamestown. The museum explores the history of St Helena and it's position in the world. It has a large collection of physical artefacts supplemented by a digital archive of images, videos and audio.

The permanent exhibition offers a chronological view of Saint Helena's history, beginning with its geological development. The displays then explore the discovery of the island by European's, the role of the East India Company and migration. There is also a display about Napoleon Bonaparte's exile to Saint Helena.

Within the displays about colonisation and the East India Company are mentions of enslaved Africans brought to the island. Abolition and emancipation are also examined, as the interpretation moves on to explore the diverse make up of Saint Helena's population into the twentieth century. These displays are supported with artefacts and finds from recent archaeological digs on the island.

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Museum of Modern Day Slavery

The Museum of Modern Day Slavery opened in 2014. It is managed by Elijah Rising, a prayer gathering that aims to end sex trafficking through prayer, awareness, intervention, and restoration. The museum is a big part of that mission and is housed in a former brothel that Elijah Rising negotiated the closure of in 2012. It is the only museum in the USA dedicated solely to interpreting and raising awareness for slavery in the present day.

The location of the museum provides visitors with a rare opportunity to see inside a brothel. Throughout, there is text interpretation that provides information about sex trafficking in Houston. This is supported by a small collection of artefacts that have been collected by the museum's staff and volunteers when conducting field research with victims of trafficking in the city. The museum also draws attention to the victories of abolitionists in the past through text panels to inspire visitors to take action to end slavery in the present.

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Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira

The Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira is one of New Zealand's oldest museum. Founded in 1852, the museum was formally inaugurated in its current site in 1929. It narrates the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific, and its people. The museum is also a war memorial for Auckland and houses one of New Zealand's three national heritage libraries.

The museum's collections incorporate military history, social history, local history, natural history and decorative arts. These are displayed through a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions, and on the museum's website. The exhibitions are themed and cover New Zealand's involvement in conflict, its natural history and ecological development and the arrival of Europeans. It also has three permanent galleries that explore its globally significant collection of Maori artefacts.

'He Taonga Māori' (or the Maori Court) is the gallery that greets visitors when they enter the museum's ground floor. This exhibition interprets the past, present and future of the Maori communities in New Zealand using over 1000 objects and a number of original, full-sized Maori buildings, including a meeting house. The collections are used to illustrate everyday Maori life, and range from carved wooden items, to woven textiles and tools. Oral testimonies from members of the Maori community are used to add a further layer of interpretation to the artefacts. A small area of the display discusses the Maori use of slavery, particularly with regards to captives from war.

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Queensland Museum

The Queensland Museum is a museum of natural history, science, human achievement and local interest that was founded by the Queensland Philosophical Society in 1862. Over the last century it has been housed in various sites, namely former colonial administrative buildings, until the local government had a purpose built site constructed for the museum on Brisbane's South Bank in 1986. Funded by the Queensland Government, the Queensland Museum Trust operates a number of sites in addition to the Queensland Museum. These include the Science Centre, the Queensland Museum of Tropics and the Workshops Rail Museum.

The museum's aim is to connect its visitors to Queensland the place, the people and the region's position in the world through artefacts, interactives and events. There are over one million items in its collections. The permanent exhibitions look at Queensland's ecological and social development.

In 'Histories of Queensland,' the exhibition explores the theme of migration to the area. As well as examining the European migration to the area during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the displays discuss the role of indentured labourers from the South Sea Islands. These people were forcibly transported from their homes to work in Queensland's sugar industry. The display informs visitors about the hardships faced by these individuals and the negative legacies this brutal enslavement inflicted on the South Sea Islands from the nineteenth century until today.

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Harriet Tubman Museum

The Harriet Tubman Museum is a small museum located in Cambridge, Maryland, a few miles from where Harriet Tubman was born. The museum originated as a community organization which was planning a single three-day event honouring Harriet Tubman in 1983. Over the years, the Harriet Tubman Organisation has adjusted its goals; today its mission 'is to develop programs and services for children and families and to preserve the history and memory of Harriet Tubman by offering the general public an interpretive history of her achievements.'

The museum's permanent exhibition is a combination of interpretive text and artefacts, many recovered from nearby plantations. The artefacts on display represent the objects that the enslaved would have used in their daily lives, as well as more brutal symbols of slavery like shackles. The museum, which accepts admission donations, is usually open Tuesday - Saturday. Through the museum, visitors can also organise trips to the actual property where Tubman was born and worked. The museum hosts school groups as well as a range of special events throughout the year.