Maymont, a Gilded Age estate that’s now a public park in Richmond, Virginia, has an extensive exhibit on the domestic servants in the first half of the twentieth century. To continue to collect stories about and remember the many people who work in domestic service, the exhibit includes a small area that invites family, friends, and neighbors to share their memories with a label that reads:
In creating this painting–a symbolic tribute to the individuals who worked as domestic employees at Maymont–I felt special gratitude to my own loved ones. My grandmother, mother, two aunts, and three uncles were all once employed on the Dooley staff.
Was there a significant person in your life who worked in domestic service? Is there still?
In developing this exhibition, we’ve heard several warm remembrances from friends and visitors. Some mention a parent, grandparent, or friend–others offer stories of a beloved family employee, such as a cook, nursemaid, or handyman.
Would you also like to pay tribute to a particular individual?
Feel free to jot down a few sentences in our book of memories. Full names are optional.
Doris Walker Woodson
Board Member, Maymont Foundation, 2003-2006
These are then slipped into plastic sleeves and placed in a three-ring binder that other visitors can read. What a smart idea to invite visitors to meaningfully participate in the experience and continue historical research at the same time!