McDowell House Museum officially has opened a new room on its tour during African American History Month to honor the enslaved African-Americans that lived at the house in the early 1800s. McDowell House recently has made several conscious changes to the way it deals with the issue of slavery, giving a more prominent voice to the people once enslaved on the property.
This includes a change in the mission statement, an addition to the children’s book, and the new room. It is likely that a house slave lived in a small room above the kitchen, which was previously used as museum storage. This space now shows what life would have been like for the slave who lived there, probably a female cook or nanny.
The new room features a chair, a mattress and a well-worn mirror. The chair and mirror were donated by McDowell board member Dr. Thomas Courtenay. The mattress was donated by board vice chair Janet Hamner through Cottage Interiors. The furnishings are sparse, as they certainly would have been for the McDowell slaves. A copy of a slave bill of sale hangs outside the room and shows the reality of slavery.
Tours of the museum take about 45 minutes to an hour. Admission is charged. Visit www.mcdowellhouse.com or call (859) 236-2804 for more information.