J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Frontier Culture Museum’s New West African Space

This month the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia, dedicated its latest recreated historical space: a 1700s West African Farm, also called Igbo Farm Village.

The museum’s announcement says:

The West African Farm is an outdoor exhibit that is modeled after the compound of an Igbo yam farmer in the 1700s, and is taking its place among the Museum’s collection of outdoor exhibits representing life in seventeenth and eighteenth century England, Ireland and Germany, and early America.

West African Farm will serve as a place where Museum visitors will learn about the lives and culture of the African ancestors of African Americans, and the contributions of Africans and African Americans to the creation of the United States and of a distinctive American culture.
Here are photos of the site being built, and how it fits alongside farm buildings from other places and times.


Isaac said...

Its amazing that an exhibit depicting nothing that ever existed in America can be expected to "teach" America's history.
I assume Siberian peasant villages and Roman colonial settlements are being considered also?
I hope no public funds are going into this.

J. L. Bell said...

The Frontier Culture Museum explains its mission quite clearly: “To tell the story of these early immigrants and their American descendents, the Museum has moved or reproduced examples of traditional rural buildings from England, Germany, Ireland, West Africa, and America. . . . The outdoor exhibits are located in two separate areas: the Old World and America. The Old World exhibits show rural life and culture in four homelands of early migrants to the American colonies.”

Apparently you have no complaint about the English, German, and Irish buildings, only about the one showing West African rural life. Your racism is showing, Isaac.