History Programs at the Moffatt-Ladd House in Portsmouth

The Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden, a historic house museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, wants to let homeschoolers know that we offer school programs for both elementary and high school age students.

This house was built in 1763 by merchant Samuel Moffatt on the Portsmouth waterfront. Our elementary school program is very interactive with a mix of activities that sailors and dock workers would have worked on taking place in our 18th century warehouse. Students also can tour the whole house and eat lunch in our beautiful garden.

For older students we have a program piloted with a Museums for America Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services: “Exploring the Issue of Slavery in the Era of the American Revolution.” This program centers on issues addressed by the 1779 Petition of Freedom, signed by “20 Natives of Africa now forcibly detained in slavery,” in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Two signers were men enslaved by the Moffatts and the Whipples who lived in the house during the Revolution: Prince Whipple and Windsor Moffatt.

This school program makes the reality of slavery personal, by providing access to spaces that mirror relationships and social interactions within the house. Through the vehicle of dramatic re-imagining of the Petition and other creative exercises students in the pilot program, which we first tested in Portsmouth, have gained greater insight into the discussions among signers of the Petition themselves, the interaction between Prince Whipple and William Whipple (and other signers and those who enslaved them), and public reaction to the Petition from the white community and from members of the Black community who did not sign the Petition. These explorations have given them an enhanced understanding of the reality and dynamics of the system of slavery as it was manifested in New England during the era of the American Revolution. This program promotes discussion of the basic values of freedom, equality and equal opportunity.

If there are any groups who are interested in working with us on either program, I would love to speak with them. Jennifer Belmont-Earl, Moffatt Ladd House and Garden, jennifer.blmnt@gmail.com, http://moffattladd.org/