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Africatown Heritage House Now Open


Africatown Heritage House, home to “Clotilda: The Exhibition," which tells the long-untold story of the last known slave ship to arrive in the United States, opened to the public on Saturday, July 8.


National Geographic magazine has already named it as one of the Best New Museums of 2023. Read about that here.


The History Museum of Mobile hired the facility’s first-ever manager, Jessica Fairley, who is eager to share the incredible and inspirational accounts of the 110 survivors of the ship with visitors from near and far … whether they come from around the block or around the globe.


“Clotilda: The Exhibition” focuses on those 110 men, women and children, whose stories are shared through a combination of interpretive text panels, documents and artifacts, including some pieces of the sunken ship scientifically verified to be the Clotilda. The exhibition is installed at the Africatown Heritage House, a site newly constructed by the Mobile County Commission and the City of Mobile.


Fairley joins a growing group of Mobilians who are working hard to share the stories of the Clotilda, its survivors and the Africatown community as a whole. Fairley is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the site, ensuring that it fulfills its goal of honoring the past while also focusing on the future of Africatown. She grew up nearby, attended Whitley Elementary School and Vigor High School with students from Africatown, and became fully invested in the family stories of one of her close friends, who is a descendant of the 110.


Fairley says she’s a storyteller at heart, and this job truly allows her to tap into that passion while she does something for the greater good. “This is not my story,” she says. “This is my friend’s story. Now Africatown Heritage House is the home of that story … and we’re ready to share it with the whole world.”


Africatown Heritage House is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition will have limited capacity, so tickets will be sold in time-block increments and should be purchased in advance at www.clotilda.com.


For more information about the Clotilda, and to see stories published nationally by outlets including ABC, CBS, NBC, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Magazine, NPR, and more, please refer to Clotilda.com

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