Cape May’s Harriet Tubman Museum to open on Saturday following pandemic delay
A museum honoring Harriet Tubman will open in Cape May County this weekend, after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum was named one of the most anticipated museum openings of 2020 by the Smithsonian.
“To celebrate it on Juneteenth really means a lot,” says Hampton Taylor of the Harriet Tubman Museum Board of Trustees.
Taylor has watched the museum come to life, from a church parsonage house to the Harriet Tubman Museum. Doors will open to the public on Saturday.
“We’ve been waiting for this year for nearly three years,” says museum executive director Cynthia Mullock.
The museum will honor Tubman and her ties to Cape May. Museum officials hope to educate the community about Tubman’s ties to New Jersey.
“She was here organizing with abolitionist activists who were here from Philadelphia and then she was also working to get the funding for her missions to free enslaved people,” Mullock says.
Officials also want the public to know about Cape May’s role in abolishing slavery.
“I think a lot of people are surprised to know that we’re trying to enlighten them and let them know that Cape May is a big part of the Underground Railroad and [Tubman] did spend a lot of time here,” says Taylor.
A statue of Tubman will be on display at the museum for the summer. It joins a permanent collection of items from Cape May’s history. Mullock says that she hopes that the museum will become an education tool that she says is needed in today’s time.
“All of the events of the last year with George Floyd’s murder, people were really looking for the specific educational material that the museum is able to provide. So we’re working with a number of different schools and county community organization to bring this material to our schools and to our children,” Mullock says.
The grand opening will be celebrated with a big event in Rotary Park on Saturday at 11 a.m. Tickets are free.