Panels Are Displayed Throughout the Museum Grounds
An exhibit featuring stories of maritime history from diverse perspectives can now be seen throughout the grounds of the Museum.
This series of panels, called The Sea Connects Us, is intended to be striking, with bold colors and powerful images on each panel, designed to draw visitors in.
Each panel tells profound stories of African Americans and Native Americans in maritime history.
The exhibit, part of the Museum’s Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion initiative, explains how greatly African American and Indigenous people were harmed by colonization and slavery and how they persevered and contributed significantly to maritime history.
Exhibit curator Akeia de Barros Gomes states “When people think of maritime history, they don’t think of people who are African American and Native American.” de Barros Gomes said “Unfortunately, these stories have not been widely told before now.” Each panel will contain 100 words or less, giving visitors a snapshot of a specific piece of history.
Other panels focus on specific individuals, like Venture Smith, a Stonington resident born to a prince in Guinea around 1729. He is an example of the double-edged nature of maritime culture. He was enslaved during a tribal war and brought to the British colonies, where he used money from whaling, fishing, and boat rentals to buy freedom for himself and his family. He purchased land in East Haddam, where he constructed several houses and was one of the earliest African-American mariners to leave an autobiographical account of their life.
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