Imagine finding a wooden trunk filled with objects, papers and clothing from another lifetime. What stories would it have to tell? Thanks to generous support from Comcast, local students can dive into two interactive wooden trunks and explore the African American Museum in Philadelphia’s (AAMP) Trailblazers to Freedom Traveling Trunks. This ongoing program celebrates several of Philadelphia’s most dynamic African American figures from the Revolutionary and Civil War Eras. Featuring video pulled from AAMP’s core exhibit, “Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876,” these trunks will travel between Philadelphia’s public schools telling the stories of these remarkable individuals.
The interactive trunks contain a touchscreen display featuring video drawn from Audacious Freedom, replica artifacts and documents including clothing, letters, speeches, paintings, broadsides, as well as teaching resources for educators. Trunk One focuses on educator and activist Octavius Valentine Catto and abolitionist and poet Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, with themes of activism, education and abolition in the Civil War Era. Trunk Two commemorates oral historian Alice of Dunks Ferry and businessman and abolitionist James Forten, with themes of history and storytelling, Black entrepreneurship, and activism in the Revolutionary War Era. With support from Comcast, the Traveling Trunks are available for up to two-week visits to public schools in the School District of Philadelphia.
Introduced in 2010, the Traveling Trunks are designed to be paired with a visit to AAMP, so that students can experience the entirety of the Audacious Freedom exhibit. The combined experience means that students can learn about James Forten’s time on a privateering ship during the Revolutionary War while using a spyglass, or about Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s support of John Brown while questioning the true, and enduring, cost of freedom.
“Our goal is to take the remarkable stories from Audacious Freedom outside of our walls and into classrooms so that students can learn about Philadelphia’s early black community in a way that captures their imagination and inspires them to learn more,” said Patricia Wilson Aden, AAMP President and CEO.
“The more we teach our young people about the world in which they live, the more we empower them to successfully navigate it,” said Charisse. R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment for Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast Foundation. “At Comcast and NBCUniversal, we believe technology and education open doors to living better lives.”
Schools are welcomed to share photos, videos, or artwork of creative classroom activities inspired by their experience with AAMP’s Traveling Trunks.
Additionally, Trailblazers to Freedom Traveling Trunks are available for visits to libraries, community centers, conference rooms and even family reunions. To book a trunk for your organization, contact Shirley Flowers at [email protected] or 215-574-0380 x 225.