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Exhibit tells stories of servants at Hickory Hill

A current Hickory Hill exhibit portrays the lives of domestic servants at the turn of the 20th century, from historical photographs to everyday objects such as teapots and irons.

From Morning to Night: Domestic Service in the Gilded Age South opened Sept. 13 and will be on display until Jan. 31.

"One of the most untold stories at any museum is that of the servants, especially people of color who worked at a site," said Michelle Zupan, the curator of Hickory Hill and the Tom Watson Birthplace. "We know about the servants that worked at Hickory Hill. We have names, photos and even a letter written by one of them. It's important to tell those stories."

The exhibit was borrowed from the Maymont Foundation, a historic estate in Richmond, Va., and Zupan supplemented it with Hickory Hills' photos and artifacts, many of which were used by servants of former Georgia politician Tom Watson.

The panels from Maymont will be returned in November, and the rest of the exhibit will remain on display until January.

The assorted historical objects embody the history of a mostly African-American labor force that worked in white households as cooks, maids, laundresses, nursemaids, butlers and chauffeurs.

"This is an important part of the African-American history of the South and of Thomson," Zupan said.

Call ahead at (706) 595-7777 before visiting the exhibit, as Hickory Hill is occasionally closed for school programs and forums.

During the second weekend of December, Holiday on the Hill Christmas tours will coincide with the exhibit and will be told from the perspective of domestic servants.


Web posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011

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