South Carolina Slave Home to Become Centerpiece for Smithsonian’s New Museum

Down a dirt road on Edisto Island, in the middle of Point of Pines Plantation, stood a dilapidated home chock-full of history. The home was one of two of the nation’s oldest slave cabins, dating to the 1850s. According to the NY Times, “Black families lived in the wood-sided, two-room houses, without electricity or heating, until the 1980s."

The NY Times: “For years, local historians had struggled to save the pinewood building. After the last residents moved out, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, in 1986. Three years ago, the plantation’s owners donated the cabin but not the land to the Edisto Historical Preservation Society.”

Curators from the Smithsonian’s new African American history museum in Washington came to Edisto to dismantle the home and take it with them for exhibition in the center of the museum. “We’re collecting the cabin because slavery is an important part of the American story, and our museum goal is to tell the story of America from an African American perspective. Slavery is a difficult and complex topic, but it’s going to rest right at the heart of our museum, and this cabin rests right at the heart of this museum, as well," says Nancy Bercaw, curator of Community Life for The Natural Museum of African American History and Culture.

The new Smithsonian museum is scheduled to open in 2015.