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The Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House historic site presents Makers In The Mansion: A Transformed African American Community at Woodlawn through the Artisan Eye, an installation in our museum areas from June - October, 2018. 

Want to join us for our Exhibit Launch Reception on July 18th from 5:30 PM-8:00 PM?

RSVP at to reserve your spot! 

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Woodlawn has recently embarked on an interpretation that tells the stories of all of our owners, who, throughout its history, and often through creative pursuit, expressed their views on social matters important to their time. Now, through six installations of work and a writing project by local African American artisans, we open the first door to a longer journey to broaden our interpretation of the largely unknown histories of the people who didn’t own the mansion house or property, but had a huge impact on it nevertheless.  

The maker movement and the creation of handmade goods is growing in our current era, possibly as an antidote to lives bursting with new technologies and fast response. We chose to use that restored interest as a vehicle to amplify the voice of our African American community at Woodlawn who were transformed from enslaved to free between the period 1846- 1860. This is the time when Quaker families came to Woodlawn from the North, encouraged by the economic success and progressive stance of other nearby communities, such as Gum Springs, which were sprouting up as neighborhoods of farmers, freed enslaved people and immigrant workers, all working together.  

Creative response is often shaped by the way that an artisan/maker/designer sees and feels their immediate environment, and that response might also be shaped by outside influences such as politics and issues of equality, affordability and fairness. Making something is uniquely transformative, whether born out of necessity or pleasure, and these very talented and innovative artisans have been chosen to exhibit in our mansion and highlight our own transformative story here from plantation to free community.  

This project is funded by the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, with support from The JPB Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.