Exhibition on domestic slave trade
wins 2016 Award of Merit from
national history organization
June 2016 | New Orleans, Louisiana — The American Association for State and Local History has announced that The Historic New Orleans Collection is the recipient of an Award of Merit for its 2015 exhibition “Purchased Lives: New Orleans and the Domestic Slave Trade, 1808–1865.” The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 71st year, are the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.
The display, curated by THNOC historian Erin M. Greenwald, examines the period between America’s 1808 abolishment of the international slave trade and the end of the Civil War, during which an estimated two million people were forcibly moved among the nation’s states and territories. The domestic trade wreaked new havoc on the lives of enslaved families, as owners and traders in the Upper South—Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC—sold and shipped surplus enslaved laborers to the developing Lower South—Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Many of those individuals passed through New Orleans, which was the largest slave market in antebellum America.
“‘Purchased Lives’ deeply impacted our visitors, many of whom returned for two, three, four or more visits,” said Greenwald. “Each time they brought with them friends and family members eager to better understand how the domestic slave trade shaped, and in some ways continues to shape, American history.”
Of the 63 national awards AASLH conferred this year honoring people, projects, exhibitions and publications, only two were presented to institutions in Louisiana: The Historic New Orleans Collection and the West Baton Rouge Museum. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at the 2016 AASLH annual meeting in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, Sept. 16. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.
The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at (615) 320-3203, or go to www.aaslh.org.
Two versions of “Purchased Lives”—one with original artifacts and another consisting of illustrated panels —will travel to new locations thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Entergy Corporation and the National Park Service. The full exhibition is currently at the Alexandria Museum of Art, where it will remain on view through Aug. 20. It will then travel to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis (Sept. 12–Nov. 27, 2016) and the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin (Feb. 11–July 9, 2017). Through support from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the panel exhibition will travel to 10 libraries and community centers throughout the state over the course of two years, beginning with the Cane River Creole National Historical Park in Natchitoches in November 2016.
About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, THNOC offers guided tours, free rotating exhibitions, a research facility and a museum shop. For more information, visit www.hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662.
About the American Association for State and Local History
The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.