New-York Historical Society Exhibit on Slavery Wins Rave Review from NYT

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While "Slavery in New York" is marred by its tendency to slight the broader context and by its earnest attempts to pull in all age groups, its virtues are so considerable, and the information and objects on display so potent, that they are bound to transform the way any visitor thinks about slavery in New York City's past.

The $5 million exhibition inspired some concern from the start because of its aim to demonstrate the importance of slavery in New York City, from the Dutch period until 1827. There was also some anticipatory consternation about the presumed conservative influence of two of the society's backers and board members, Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, a concern that turns out to be as groundless now as it was in the society's far less successful exhibition on Alexander Hamilton last year.

But the history here was carefully vetted. The 9,000-square-foot exhibition was shaped by Louise Mirrer, the president of the society; Richard Rabinowitz, a historian and the president of the American History Workshop, a Brooklyn company that designs museum exhibitions; and James Oliver Horton, a historian at George Washington University - along with more than a score of scholarly advisers.

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