‘The Mere Distinction of Colour,’ Montpelier exhibition, honored
The historic home of President James Madison is winning national recognition for telling the story of enslaved people who once lived at the Orange County property.
Montpelier’s year-old exhibition, “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” was named a winner of an Award of Merit and a History in Progress citation from the American Association of State and Local History.
Montpelier also earned silver MUSE awards from the American Alliance of Museums for its exhibition and for a 10-minute film, “Legacies of Slavery,” that tells the story of the people and the place from the point of view of Ellen Stewart, daughter of Dolley Madison’s enslaved maid.
“We share these awards with the members of the Montpelier Descendent Community,” said Elizabeth Chew, Montpelier’s vice president of museum programs.
“Because of their courage, partnership and the honesty of the members whose ancestors were enslaved here, Montpelier was able to create an exhibition that highlights the humanity of the enslaved, connects the past to the present and acknowledges the legacies of slavery that affect all of us today,” Dr. Chew said.
“The Mere Distinction of Colour” opened in June 2017, she said, with the aim of dispelling myths about the people held in slavery and to expose the ideology and economic and political factors that made human bondage a key element in the country and cemented it into the U.S. Constitution.
The exhibition is open daily at Montpelier, which is located in the Montpelier Station community, about 75 miles northwest of Richmond.
Information and directions: www.Montpelier.org.