Marblehead Museum announced that it has received an Historic Places Planning Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Public Humanities Projects program. This $40,000 grant will help fund exhibit planning in the museum’s newly-acquired kitchen and slave quarters of the Jeremiah Lee estate. The exhibits will share the largely unknown stories of the lives and experiences of the enslaved people of Marblehead and the maritime communities of the North Shore.
The project will also include a reinterpretation of the Jeremiah Lee Mansion and estate to incorporate the experiences of all those who lived and worked on the property during the late Colonial era, including the enslaved individuals.
The project includes an 11-person advisory panel made up of scholars from around the country who study the enslaved experience in the Northeast, as well as community stakeholders and educators. Museum staff will work with Kristin Gallas of Muse Consulting and the Proun Exhibit Design firm, both Massachusetts-based, to develop the exhibit and interpretive materials.
In 2021, the Marblehead Museum purchased the 1766 brick building adjacent to its magnificent Jeremiah Lee Mansion. One of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the U.S., the museum has owned and given tours of the mansion since 1909. The acquisition of the new brick building, which research shows was used by Lee as a detached kitchen, coach house and slave quarters, brought back together all of Colonial merchant Jeremiah Lee’s original property. Since 2021, museum staff, alongside archaeologists, architectural historians and scholars, have studied the brick building and the history surrounding it, including that of the enslaved people who worked and lived on the estate.
The museum has received one of only 15 Public Humanities Project grants awarded this cycle