James Madison’s Montpelier is in the midst of expanding its interpretation of slavery thanks to a generous gift from David Rubenstein. To explore potential interpretive techniques and content that could be adopted, we conducted a three-day research trip to visit a wide range of sites in Louisiana. Staff had visited most of the sites in Virginia, and so we sought a location that most of us had not visited but had a large concentration of historic sites that interpreted African American history before emancipation. Because the experience helped us question assumptions, think more deeply about outcomes, and expand our catalog of ideas, I’m sharing our itinerary with you to encourage you to visit. Our research trip started with two days to make a big loop through Baton Rouge and New Iberia to visit several historic sites and finished with a day in New Orleans. In future blog posts, I hope to discuss some of the sites in more detail.
Day 1: Whitney Plantation, Laura Plantation, and Oak Alley. Our initial plans also included Evergreen Plantation but the timing didn’t work out, even though these sites are within ten miles of each other.