Royall House Receives Elementary Education Grant

Medford’s Royall House and Slave Quarters has just been awarded a $5,000 matching grant from Mass Humanities to create innovative on-site educational programs for third and fifth graders.

Mass Humanities receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its grant will be used to develop materials and learning approaches to teach important lessons on northern colonial slavery, the economics of the slave trade, and the lives of enslaved Africans in colonial Massachusetts.

The planned programs will draw on the rich resources of the Royall House and Slave Quarters, including the mansion where enslaved Africans were housed in the 18th century and the only remaining slave quarters building in the north. The programs will also use artifacts unearthed on site, as well as primary source documents, to help students understand and appreciate the significant contributions of enslaved Africans to the development of New England and the American nation, and to introduce them to complex issues of race and identity, economic and social justice, and personal freedom.  To develop the programs and supporting materials, a consulting museum educator will work with a team of local teachers, guided by museum staff and an active board committee and with assistance from Tufts University education students,.

“We are grateful for Mass Humanities’ vote of support for our work, and look forward to piloting these exciting new programs in the fall of 2013,” said Margen Kelsey, chair of the Education Committee at the Royall House and Slave Quarters. She went on to note, “This grant will allow us to expand upon the tours of the buildings and grounds through which we currently reach more than 800 young visitors annually.”

About the museum: In the eighteenth century, the Royall House & Slave Quarters was home to the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts and the enslaved Africans who made their lavish way of life possible. Architecture, furnishings, and archaeological artifacts bear witness to the intertwined stories of wealth and bondage, set against the backdrop of America’s quest for independence. The Slave Quarters is the only remaining such structure in the northern United States, and the Royall House is among the finest colonial-era buildings in New England.

The Royall House and Slave Quarters is located at 15 George Street in Medford, Massachusetts. Please email for more information, visit, and find us on Facebook.

– Submitted by Tom Lincoln

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