NY Historical Society exhibit on slavery breaks records and is extended

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The New-York Historical Society has extended the landmark Slavery in New York exhibition for an additional three weeks, through Sunday, March 26, 2006 at the New-York Historical Society, at Central Park West and 77th Street in New York City.

The exhibition has broken attendance records for all shows in the Society’s 201-year history, already attracting hundreds of thousands of diverse visitors (including thousands of public school students) since its opening on October 7, 2005.

The remarkable, untold story of New York’s deep involvement in the slave trade is the focus of this major multi-media exhibition. At 9,000 square-feet, the show incorporates historically detailed video re-enactments, audio narrative and interactive video displays, along with rare, primary source materials (paintings, original documents, artifacts) to detail this remarkable, dark time in America’s history.

Exhibition highlights include: giant billowing sails and recorded voices (speaking a dozen African dialects) suggestive of the harrowing Middle Passage; a multi-media installation portraying a local well where slaves met as they gathered water and (in 1712) fomented a slave rebellion; and wire sculptures, which evoke the toil of the faceless, voiceless peoples whose histories were almost erased. Bills of sale for the human slave trade; advertisements offering rewards for runaway slaves; original 18th century maps detailing farmland (in what is now Soho) dedicated to freed blacks; letters revealing the details of daily life of slaves and slave holders; and objects such as a silver tea service crafted by slaves from Africa’s Gold Coast, offer a window into another time.

In addition, the companion exhibit, Finding Priscilla’s Children: The Roots and Branches of Slavery, recreates the experience of 10-year-old Priscilla who was kidnapped from Sierra Leone and brought as a slave to the New World through the use of ships’ logs and diaries. Finding Priscilla runs through March 19, 2006.

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