COVID-19 delays Harriet Tubman Museum opening; virtual tours held on Juneteenth

The Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May was scheduled to open on Juneteenth, but COVID-19 forced delays. The museum is now offering virtual tours for the holiday.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2020, 10:20 PM

Updated 1,397 days ago

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The Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May was scheduled to open on Juneteenth, but COVID-19 forced delays. The museum is now offering virtual tours for the holiday.
“Harriet Tubman, she didn’t let anything stop her and we as the Harriet Tubman Museum can’t be wimpy and let coronavirus stop us, so we have kept the work going and we’ve gotten to this date,” says museum president Bob Mullock.
June 19, or Juneteenth, commemorates the date that the last slaves were freed in the United States following the Civil War. The museum was supposed to open on this day, but the virus caused some construction delays. The museum is instead showing off the exhibits virtually, while explaining Tubman’s connection to Cape May.
“One summer, 1852 we know for sure, and there may have been others, she came to Cape May to work, to earn money,” says Barbara Dreyfuss, with the museum’s Board of Trustees. “After she was here that summer, she went back to the Eastern Shore. She freed nine more people. Newspaper accounts that you’ll see in the museum say she came back to Cape May with those people.”
Cape May was also the summer home for Philadelphia abolitionists. Museum officials say that they will showcase the rich history that many people have forgotten.
“As we’ve put this museum together, it’s like an onion that peels so many different stories,” says Mullock. “In fact, we’ve changed our theme as to the small museum with a big story, because it has great stories of slaves escaping across the Delaware Bay.”
The Board of Trustees says they decided to go ahead and open virtually with the opts of educating the public, especially during today’s social climate.
“Now I think there’s an awakening amount much of America that didn’t understand that the issues of the 1840s and 50s and 60s and the abolitionist movement and the fight for equality in the Civil Rights of the 60s, they didn’t understand that those efforts need to continue because that equality hasn’t been won,” says Dreyfuss.
The Smithsonian has named the Harriet Tubman Museum as one of the most-anticipated museum openings of 2020. Construction on the museum is expected to be complete by the end of June. It is set to open by mid- to late-July.


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