HERMITAGE, Tenn. - Thanks to a $300,000, three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), 30 years of archaeological research at The Hermitage, Home of Andrew Jackson, will be digitized and made available online to scholars and the general public.
Announced last month, the grant enables archaeologists at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello to complete a web-based collaboration entitled Beyond the Mansion 2.0 in partnership with The Hermitage. The project will focus on digitizing artifacts and field records from a group of archaeological sites collectively known as the First Hermitage. This area was occupied by Andrew Jackson and a small number of slaves around 1800.
Cataloging procedures and software developed by the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS) at Monticello will be used to digitize the information, and data from Beyond the Mansion 2.0 will be available to the public at the conclusion of the project on the DAACS website.
“We are very excited that Monticello received this generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to catalog the archaeological material excavated at the First Hermitage,” said Marsha Mullin, vice president of museum services and chief curator at The Hermitage. “We are proud to be part of yet another project that will make years of archeological research widely available online while adding to the knowledge of slavery at The Hermitage.”
Material from two other Hermitage excavation sites, the Field Quarter and the Mansion Backyard, are already online as part of the DAACS database. They represent the most comprehensive excavations of 19th-century sites of slavery in the American South. As part of the DAACS database, the data can be easily compared to other sites in the Atlantic coast area and Caribbean and show how The Hermitage fits into a larger historical context.
Archeology is a critical resource to understanding slavery and daily life at The Hermitage. Beyond the Mansion 2.0 will bring together three types of archeological information for analysis: artifacts, animal remains and botanical remains. Comparison of all three areas will allow archeologists to further document and explain lifestyle differences within the enslaved community during the early-modern era.
About The Hermitage
The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson, is one of the largest and most visited presidential homes in the United States. In 1856, the State of Tennessee purchased the property from the Jackson family, entrusting it to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association in 1889 to operate as one of America’s first historic site museums. Today, The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with more than 30 historic buildings, including restored slave cabins. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of some 180,000 annual visitors, including 30,000 school children, from all 50 states and many foreign countries. The Hermitage is a “Partner Place” with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a site along the National Park Service’s Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. For more information, visit www.thehermitage.com.
Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today the Foundation seeks to advance its twofold mission of preservation and education by engaging a global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Monticello is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation’s regular operating budget is not supported by federal or state government funding. About 450,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit www.monticello.org.
Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
author and not necessarily the opinion of the editors of PreservationDirectory.com.