This is a project to help educate the public about the history and legacy of slavery and race in the United States, and prepare historic sites and museums to deliver a comprehensive and conscientious interpretation of slavery to their visitors.
This project grew out of our work with the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery, and encompasses the books, other publications, and workshops described on this web site.
Kristin L. Gallas
Kristin has worked in museums for over 20 years. She facilitates workshops for museums and historic sites on developing comprehensive and conscientious interpretation of slavery, and speaks regularly at public history and museum conferences. She is the co-editor, with James DeWolf Perry, of Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, January 2015), among other publications on best practices in the interpretation of slavery. She developed the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery‘s public history efforts and oversaw the design of workshops for teachers and other professionals in education. Kristin holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary history education from the University of Vermont and a master of arts in museum education from George Washington University. She has led the education and/or interpretation departments at the Montana Historical Society, the USS Constitution Museum, and currently at the Tsongas Industrial History Center. Kristin has also developed programs for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Shelburne Museum, and consulted with Mount Vernon and Martha’s Vineyard Museum on exhibit development.
“[Kristin’s workshop] was very helpful in terms of preparation for interaction with visitors. It provided research-based strategies, lots of examples and opportunities for practice. Also helped me set a broad context for our exhibit and the many ‘connections’ that visitors may make, some positive, some not so much.”
— Participant, Maine State Museum Professional Development Workshop
James DeWolf Perry
James was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as the principal historical consultant for Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, the PBS documentary about the legacy of the slave trade in New England. He also appears throughout the film as a descendant of James DeWolf, the leading slave-trader in U.S. history. After the release of the film, James co-founded the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery and, as its executive director, led many of the Center’s public programs on racial healing and equity, as well as professional workshops in education and public history. He edited Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) with Kristin Gallas, and his other published writing addresses the teaching and interpretation of slavery and its legacy, and they are now at work on a second book. James also serves on the board of directors of the Center for Reconciliation in Providence, R.I. James attended Columbia Law School and his graduate work at Harvard University included research into the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition.
“James did an amazing job, somehow managing to interpret American history in a different, very credible light, which was something none of us had thought about or understood before. The congregation gave him the most enthusiastic applause I can ever remember. We all learned a lot more than we ever imagined.”
— From a participant at a Pennsylvania Quaker meeting