Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Rising Sea Levels and the Harriet Tubman Byway


A recent study by Climate Central points to the ways in which many of the Harriet Tubman sites along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in Maryland and Delware are under threat from climate change. Due to chronic flooding caused by sea level rise, the sites are in jeopardy of destruction. With the understanding that the historic significance of this area will be washed away, archaeologists have excavated and are in the process of excavating numerous sites including the discovery in April 2021 of Ben Ross's (Tubman's father) homestead in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Climate Central, Land below 1.0 meters of water, Eastern Shore of Maryland, 2022 (A water level of 1.0 meters above the high tide line could be reached through combinations of sea level rise, tides, and storm surge.)

The exhibit includes the following sections:

  • a discussion of climate change impacts listed in the Climate Central report;

  • a consideration of the Surging Seas: Risk Finder that allows exploration of sea level and coastal flooding in Dorchester County, Maryland.

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Monument and Myth: Commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad


James L. Gafgen, Harriet Ross Tubman Memorial, 2006, Bristol Park, Bristol, Pennsylvania. Photograph by Renée Ater.

“Monument and Myth: Commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad” focuses on how contemporary artists have depicted the famed freedom fighter in three-dimensional form. This digital exhibit also considers how artists and communities have engaged the mythic Tubman to acknowledge the history of slavery, abolition, and freedom in the public spaces of their towns, cities, and states.

The exhibit includes the following sections:

  • a short biography of the historical Harriet Tubman;

  • a brief history of the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman's role as conductor;

  • a consideration of the photographic representation of Harriet Tubman and how contemporary sculptors have used these images as source material;

  • maps and a timeline; and

  • an in-depth analysis and interpretation of three monuments to Harriet Tubman.

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NOTE: I continue to add Harriet Tubman monuments to the database. I am in the process of updating the site including the addition of new and future monuments: The Beacon of Hope in Cambridge, Maryland; Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom now in Dallas, Texas; an abstract memorial in Greensboro, North Carolina; a planned for large-scale memorial in Beaufort, South Carolina; and a newly commissioned monument in Newark, New Jersey.

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