The Galveston College Faculty Professional Development Committee hosted Executive Director of Historic Preservation and Collections and Robert H. Smith Senior Curator Dr. Susan P. Schoelwer of George Washington’s Mount Vernon for a virtual lecture titled “What Can We Learn from the Exhibit ‘Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon’?” on March 9 as part of its 2020-2021 series on Diversity, Inclusion and Empowerment.
Installation of the current, award-winning special exhibition “Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon” in 2016 marked a significant step in an ongoing process of recognizing and recovering the historical experiences of hundreds of enslaved people owned by George and Martha Washington in the 18th century.
In her presentation, Dr. Schoelwer presented an overview of the galleries and offered behind-the-scenes reflections on the development of the exhibition and related projects, lessons learned, and continuing efforts to offer a more inclusive interpretation of life on one of America’s best-known plantations and most-visited historic sites.
Dr. Schoelwer directs the architectural preservation, furnishing, and interpretation of George and Martha Washington’s house and surrounding plantation buildings and landscape, as well as the creation of museum exhibitions, including “Lives Bound Together.”
Prior to coming to Mount Vernon as curator in 2010, Dr. Schoelwer served for more than a decade as head of museum collections at the Connecticut Historical Society, where she authored “Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art and Family, 1740-1840,” winner of the 2011 Connecticut Book Award for Non-Fiction. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in American studies from Yale University, a master’s degree from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Notre Dame, where she participated in the historic transition to coeducation.
In addition to Mount Vernon and the Washingtons, Dr. Schoelwer has written and lectured on a variety of topics, including American art and decorative arts, needlework and women’s history. She is currently researching a book examining the creation and continuing re-creation of George Washington portraits.
To view the free lecture on-demand, click here.