Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Anne James
For Immediate Release:May 24, 2004
At Home with Frederick Douglass Exhibit Opens May 28 at Interior

(WASHINGTON) -- At Home with Frederick Douglass, a new exhibit at the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, explores the many dimensions of the man whose compelling words and life story challenged slavery and racial prejudice in America.

Opening May 28, 2004, the exhibit brings together original furnishings, art and personal effects from Douglass' Anacostia home, Cedar Hill, where he lived during the last 17 years of his life (1878-1895). That Douglass, an intellectual and crusader for human rights, was born into slavery and taught to read in violation of the express wishes of his owner is hard to fathom when one views the Cedar Hill artifacts on exhibit.

The rhythms of Douglass' daily life --- rehearsing a speech before the looking glass, writing powerful prose at his roll top desk, playing Irish jigs on the fiddle or listening to the lyrical sounds from the West Parlor piano --- are evoked by the new exhibit. The artifacts are drawn from four of 20 rooms at Cedar Hill, and are on loan to the Interior Museum from the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

Extensive renovations at the home have required that the Cedar Hill be closed to the public for a time. At Home with Frederick Douglass provides access to these historic resources during the renovation. The Interior Museum exhibit continues on view through February 25, 2005, the anniversary of the day in 1895 when memorial services for Douglass were held at Cedar Hill.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Dr. David Blight of Yale University's Department of African American Studies will present a lecture entitled, "Frederick Douglass: How Could a Slave Become a National Hero?" on June 3, 2004. Dr. Blight is the

author of Frederick Douglass's Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee, and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. The lecture will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium on the first floor of the U.S. Department of the Interior's headquarters building at 1849 C Street, N.W. The program is open to the public and admission is free; reservations are not required.

The Interior Museum educates the public and Department of the Interior employees about the current missions and programs of the Interior Department, the history of the agency, and the art and architecture of its headquarters building. The Interior Museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except federal holidays) and the third Saturday of each month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is free. Adult visitors must present a form of photo identification (such as a driver's license, student ID, or employment card) when entering the Main Interior Building at 1849 C Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Wheelchair access is available at the 18th and E Streets entrance. For more information, call 202-208-4743.



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