Historic Sotterley Receives $48,000 for Research on the Dwellings of Enslaved People

Hollywood, MD – Historic Sotterley is honored to be one of 18 organizations to receive a grant from the France-Merrick Foundation in 2024. The $48,000 grant will support Historic Sotterley working alongside its Descendant community and research professionals on archaeological study, archival analysis, and oral history research on the organization’s historic Slave Dwelling.


The project, modelled on a similar Montpelier project, aims to inform ongoing efforts to preserve the Slave Dwelling, aid Historic Sotterley’s interpretation of the structure for the public, and enrich the dialogue related to the history and legacy of slavery.


Historic Sotterley Executive Director Nancy Easterling shares that “the Slave Dwelling is an evolved structure that reflects the needs and desires of both the occupants and the property owners over a broad sweep of time, and the “story” of the building is complex.  The archaeological findings will provide the basis for making informed decisions about how to restore the building to respect the various historical, preservation, and interpretive needs, but a truly exciting part of this project will be how Sotterley Descendants will have an integral involvement in the process.  It is their history and their ancestors’ stories, and these stories represent our shared American Story.


Historic Sotterley’s Slave Dwelling is one of only a handful of buildings that housed the enslaved that survive in Southern Maryland, and one of only two in the region accessible to the public. The dwelling therefore represents a crucially significant historic resource, and its preservation and study is at the core of the current organizational efforts to offer a dynamic and inclusive interpretive program focused on the ongoing legacy of slavery.


The project will be led by archaeologist Dr. Julie King and a team from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Descendants will be directly involved in developing research questions of importance to them, learning to excavate select deposits at the dwelling, processing artifacts, and interpreting the ongoing investigations to the visiting public. Our goal is to foster and true and tangible connection to the project and their history.




News Release Contact

Kristina Kuss, Marketing Manager

(301) 373-2280 ext. 1123



About Historic Sotterley

A National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO Site of Memory for the Routes of Enslaved Peoples, Historic Sotterley is one of the oldest museums of its kind in the United States, with a history dating back to the turn of the 18th Century. Through the preservation of the site’s historic structures and natural environment and the use of powerful stories to educate and bring American history to life, the organization strives to foster a better understanding of our world today by providing a living link to America’s complex history and legacy of slavery.