Museum News

Slave Cabin Donated to National Museum of African American History and Culture

May 13, 2013
Cabin from Point of Pines Plantation in Charleston County, South Carolina. Gift of The Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired a
slave cabin from the first half of the 19th century, currently located at Point of Pines Plantation on
Edisto Island, S.C. The Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society donated it to the museum after
receiving it originally from the Burnet Maybank family, the current owners of the plantation.

Starting Monday, May 13, the one-story, rectangular, weatherboard-clad cabin will be
dismantled piece by piece at its current location, removed from the Point of Pines Plantation and
transferred to the NMAAHC collection. Smithsonian representatives will be present during the
deconstruction to conduct additional research on the structure and those who lived there.
“Slavery is one of the most important episodes in American history, but it is often the least
understood,” said Lonnie Bunch, founding director of NMAAHC. “By exhibiting this cabin
NMAAHC will ensure that the rich, complex and difficult story of the enslaved will be made
accessible for the millions who will visit the museum.”
“The Point of Pines slave cabin will help us share the living history of a place and the
resilience of the people, who, in the darkest days of slavery, built the cabin, cleared the land, worked
in the fields and raised their families there,” said Nancy Bercaw, NMAAHC curator. “The cabin will
be one of the jewels of the museum positioned at its center to tell the story of slavery and freedom
within its walls.”

“We are thrilled to be able to share an important part of Edisto Island’s rich history with the
millions of visitors who will visit this new museum,” said Gretchen Smith, director of Edisto Island
Historical Preservation Society. “This is a story that needs to be told, and we know the Smithsonian
will do a wonderful job of telling it.”

The reconstructed cabin will be on view in the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibition when the museum opens in 2015. This exhibition will focus on the crucial role slavery played in the making of America and its impact on generations of enslaved Africans and their descendants.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an Act of
Congress in 2003 making it the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Scheduled for completion
in 2015, it is under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on a five-acre tract
adjacent to the Washington Monument. Currently, the museum is hosting public programs, assembling
collections and presenting exhibitions at other museums across the country and at its own gallery at
the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. For more information, visit nmaahc.si.edu.

Media Contact(s): 

Fleur Paysour (202) 633-4761; paysourf@si.edu 
Lindsey Koren (202) 633-4052; korenl@si.edu 

application/pdf Press Release (125.54 KB)

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About The Museum

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.