The Pioneers in Preservation, funded by The ACE Grant community program and Georgia Humanities, is a free, multi-day series of events that will familiarize the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry communities with the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its legacy. Each day, a new program will be hosted at a partnering museum site to provide a unique and engaging experience for attendees.
“We have a wonderful and engaging lineup for our guests this year. We want our visitors to thoroughly enjoy learning the history behind the City of Savannah. Some of the history is tragic and heartbreaking, some is remarkable and uplifting – but it all went into making our city what it is today, so we hope to tell the full story in a truthful and reverent way,” HSF Education and Research Associate Kimberly Newbold said. “Working with partner museums has made it possible to do a series of programs that one museum could not do alone. We’re grateful for the collaboration of the Davenport House Museum, Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, the Andrew Low House Museum, and everyone who supports HSF’s efforts to preserve Savannah’s heritage.”
The first event of the series will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, located at 41 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Gullah/Geechee Nation luminary Queen Quet will deliver a thought-provoking, “edu-taining,” “histo-musical” performance highlighting Gullah/Geechee roots while focusing on the strength of tradition and the power of story through music. Those arriving ahead of the presentation will be able to see the “Human Cargo” exhibition for FREE.
The second event of the series is at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at the historic Second African Church located at 123 Houston St. Dr. Sowande Mustakeem, associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, will provide the key-note lecture on her groundbreaking work, “Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage.”
The Pioneers in Preservation series continues Saturday, Nov. 13 with a lecture and tasting event, “Tasting Traditions!” at the Andrew Low House Museum, located at 329 Abercorn St. This event will have two tastings, the first beginning at 1:30 p.m. and the next at 3:30 p.m. The museum will host Vaughnette Goode-Walker, who will lecture on African American food traditions. Goode-Walker will talk about food culture in the 19th and 20th centuries and relate these traditions to Mosianna Milledge, an enslaved and later free servant to the Low family. Local chef, Sallie Ann Robinson, will give an informal talk and perform a cooking demonstration, preparing dishes influenced by African American traditions and present-day inspirations.
The series wraps up in the afternoon on Sunday, Nov. 14, at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, 41 MLK Jr. Blvd. The museum will host a workshop from 1:00 – 3:30 covering the construction of a mbira, a west African thumb piano, with a detachable cigar box resonator. This workshop is limited to 20 participants and is restricted to ages eight and older. Guests will participate in the activity in the museum’s Assembly Room in the North Garden, where COVID-19 safety precautions will be observed.
“It is wonderful to have colleagues to join forces with to present revelational programming. The part of the series that the Davenport House had a hand in putting together is the opening evening with Queen Quet of Gullah Geechee Nation and the keynote lecture with Dr. Sowande Mustakeem. It will be an honor to be in their company and share in the discovery of their work. We hope the community will come out to see these programs which are free and open to the public,” Davenport House Museum Director Jamie Credle said.
Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum Interim Executive Director/Curator Wendy Melton is thrilled her museum will share in hosting these very special events.
“Ships of the Sea is honored to collaborate with our Partners in Preservation in recognizing the significant African contributions to this region’s culture. It is a recognition that is long overdue,” Melton said.
Rebecca Eddins, Andrew Low House Museum Executive Director, echoed Melton’s sentiment.
“This collaborative effort between our three respective museums represents a meaningful and lasting partnership. We are able to pool our resources and provide visitors with an engaging experience of this important topic,” Eddins said.
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation invites the world to come and join in the honoring of the Gullah/Geechee ancestors that were victims of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade which was the crime against humanity, but to celebrate the strength and survival of the citizens of the Gullah/Geechee Nation that descend from those that endured the Middle Passage journey.