The Dismal Swamp at the Hampton History Museum

A few weeks ago, Erin, Craig, and I ventured into the Swamp to officially wrap up my dissertation fieldwork.  We backfilled the last few units, pulled the remaining flags and thanked the Dismal for collaborating in the Swampscapes endeavor.

On our way home from the 45th Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference (where Erin and I participated in a great Biggs Ford panel and Craig won the CofMA student award for his paper on Josiah Henson– Congratulations Craig!), we stopped at the Hampton History Museum to visit a new exhibit featuring artifacts excavated by the GDSLS.  The Give Me Liberty: Fugitive Slaves and the Long Revolution Against Slavery exhibit explores African and African American resistance to enslavement in the Hampton, Virginia, area.  Museum registrar Bethany Austin came up to AU campus a while back to pick up artifacts and I was anxious to see them on display.


Sure, it’s nifty to see artifacts from enslaved laborers and Maroons from the Dismal on display.  That they are in a museum so close to the Swamp itself goes a long way toward helping bring this little-known chapter of local history to light.

Another highlight of the exhibit is a series of panels telling the stories of individual enslaved people from the Tidewater area and their personal fights and flights for freedom.

If you find yourself in the Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach/Colonial Williamsburg area in the next few months, I highly recommend a stop at the Hampton History Museum.


A glimpse of the Give Me Liberty exhibit at the Hampton History Museum