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"Footsteps to You: Chattel Slavery" Exhibit and School Program

San Bernardino County, CA
Program Year: 2019

“Footsteps to You: Chattel Slavery” opened at the San Bernardino County Museum in November, 2018, and travels to the museum’s branch Victor Valley Museum in April 2019. The objectives of the exhibit are to develop visitor’s cultural literacy, foster historical empathy, and build personal resilience. Developed with a target audience 4th-12th grade field trip students and teachers, the successful run has also increased attendance from older audiences, and significantly attracted African American visitors and other people of color. Through the presentation of primary artifacts the exhibit introduces the concept of historical empathy, a means of achieving deeper understanding of the lived experiences of people from the past. First-person accounts, newspaper articles, and original objects of the slave trade serve to put the viewer in the shoes of those that were subjected to this treatment; provide insight into the actions of people that overcame their situation; and introduces the stories of individuals that stood for change when others did not, or could not. The exhibit draws from the collection of Jerry Gore, a retired faculty member of Morehead State University who passed away in 2016, and the Black Voice Foundation, located in San Bernardino and the current steward of this important collection.

Ms. Melissa Russo
Museum Director