Cliveden's Living Kitchens: They Lived Where They Worked

30 Oct 2015
7 pm - 8:30pm
Cliveden of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 6401 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia


Audiences take in Liberty To Go To See, 2015, at Cliveden’s Main House, an interactive dramatic event based on the Chew Family Papers, produced by the New Freedom Theatre and featuring a script created through a year-long partnership between Cliveden and the Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

For the last five years, Joseph McGill, founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, Inc. and a history consultant for the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC, has been conducting extreme research by sleeping in extant slave dwellings. One discovery revealed by McGill's research is that enslaved workers commonly lived where they worked: the field hands in cabins near the fields; blacksmiths in or near the blacksmiths shops; and the cooks in or near the kitchens. Developed by Cliveden of the National Trust in conjunction with the Center-funded project, Cliveden's Living Kitchens, this "Kitchen Conversation" program will chronicle McGill's past stays with a special emphasis on the kitchens.

Cliveden of the National Trust's historical interpretation project compares domestic life in two centuries through the exploration of the 1767 and 1959 kitchens inside Cliveden's historic Germantown mansion, revealing how architecture, design, and the technology of the times defined the experiences of those enslaved and in service and their relationships with the household's family. Living Kitchens aims to reorient how audiences understand Cliveden's history by shifting the focus of the house museum from the high-style Georgian country estate of the Chew family to the service buildings.