Culture

Harriet Tubman Museum Set To Open Next Year In New Jersey

Harriet Tubman Museum Set To Open Next Year In New Jersey

We can’t wait for this to open!

A new museum is opening up in New Jersey next year, dedicated to honoring the life and legacy of freedom icon Harriet Tubman, ABC News reports. 

The Harriet Tubman Museum, located in Cape May, New Jersey, is being erected next to the historic Macedonia Baptist Church. Tubman worked as an abolitionist in Cape May after escaping to freedom. She also worked in the town, cooking for families and working in hotels, earning money that she would use to help more enslaved people escape from slavery in Maryland, according to a historical archive. 

The residents of Cape May were critical in getting the museum erected, raising almost $160,000 towards the $500,000 needed to open the doors. Cape May city councilman Zack Mullock, who manages construction of the museum, said most of the community’s funding has gone toward building materials and noted that he and his family also donated to ensure the project would be completed. Mullock said he just wants to preserve “a major part of history that has disappeared.”

Over the years, there have been several monuments dedicated to Tubman's honor including a statue in the Maryland State House, and an old Confederate site in Baltimore that was rededicated in the icon’s memory. Recently, a feature film about the abolitionist entitled “Harriet” hit box offices nationwide. Mullock reached out to the makers of the film, hoping to show the movie during the museum’s grand opening next year. 

What makes this museum different from other museums, Mullock says, is the artifacts. The museum will exhibit one of a kind items from the Underground Railroad and a collection of art which includes several pieces from the late Reverend Robert Davis, the pastor of Macedonia Baptist who passed away in 2015. 

Eugene Dempsey, an 82-year-old Air Force Veteran and longtime resident of Cape May for over six decades said he’s excited about the museum. "There’s so much Black history ... it’s unbelievable. There’s just the history of the background of Harriet Tubman. What she did was amazing ... what she did as a woman ... it’s just a wonderful thing," Dempsey said. He hopes the museum becomes “a place for the kids to extend their learning” about Tubman’s life and all she did.

The new Harriet Tubman Museum is set to open on June 19, 2020, symbolic because of Juneteenth, a national holiday celebrating the end of slavery.

Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress