The “Hidden Town Project” at Old Salem to Present a Lecture by Elizabeth Chew,
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (August 22, 2018) – The Hidden Town Project, an initiative of Old Salem Museums & Gardens, in partnership with Wake Forest University ’s Department of History, is presenting a lecture by Elizabeth Chew, Vice President for Museum Programs at James Madison’s Montpelier, on Thurs., Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the James A. Gray, Jr. Auditorium in the Old Salem Visitor Center at 900 Old Salem Road. The lecture is part of Old Salem’s Hidden Town Initiative and is entitled “Interpreting Difficult History at James Madison’s Montpelier.” It is free, open to the public and requires no pre-registration. The evening will begin with a light reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6 p.m.
Vice President for Museum Programs at Montpelier, Entitled “Interpreting Difficult History at James Madison’s Montpelier”
Chew will discuss The Mere Distinction of Colour, the ground-breaking exhibition on slavery at Montpelier. Winner of five national awards, the exhibition, which opened in 2017, considers slavery in the founding era, the lived experience of enslaved families on James Madison’s plantation, and the legacies of slavery in today’s society. It was organized by Montpelier staff in partnership with descendants of those enslaved by the Madison family.
Elizabeth Chew is Vice President for Museum Programs at James Madison’s Montpelier, where she oversees the Curatorial, Education, Archaeology, Preservation, and Research departments. An art historian, she holds a B.A. from Yale, an M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of the University of London and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked at museums and historic sites since 1985, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Reynolda House Museum of American Art. At Montpelier, she is overseeing projects to return slavery to the plantation landscape, including the exhibition The Mere Distinction of Colour, winner of five national awards. She has taught art history at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, Wake Forest University, and Davidson College and published and lectured widely on ways that art and architectural patronage relate to gender, race, and family politics.
For more information visit oldsalem.org.
About Old Salem’s Hidden Town Initiative
Old Salem Museums & Gardens has begun a groundbreaking initiative called the Hidden Town Project, which will track the effects and legacy of enslaved people from the inception of Salem itself through the Jim Crow Era and into the 21st Century. Since December 2016, a diverse, cross-functional committee of Old Salem staff and external scholars has been gathering regularly to research, discuss, and formulate a larger strategy to bring to the public this lesser-known aspect of the Moravian town of Salem. Once more data is compiled, this committee will expand to include descendants of the enslaved as well residents of early Salem. Even in these early stages of the research, it is becoming clear that by revealing and interpreting the dwellings, lives, families, and behaviors of the urban enslaved, Winston-Salem’s Old Salem Historic District might become one of the most important and comprehensive national historic and archaeological sites relative to urban slavery. The Hidden Town committee is chaired by Franklin Vagnone, Cheryl Harry, and Martha Hartley of Old Salem Museums & Gardens. For more information, please visit oldsalem.org.
About Old Salem
Old Salem Museums & Gardens is a unique living history site with a tactile-driven, immersive visitor experience. Its museums—the Historic Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), and the Gardens at Old Salem, are quickly becoming nationally known for innovative and novel interpretive models and programs. Old Salem Museums & Gardens is located at 600 South Main Street in Winston-Salem. For more information call 336-721-7300 or visit oldsalem.org.