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Drayton Hall Receives African American Heritage Foundation Award

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CHARLESTON, SC, APRIL 7, 2021: Drayton Hall Preservation Trust (501C3) has been selected an award winner for their organization’s 2020 work on the research and interpretation of the lives of the enslaved people who lived and worked at Drayton Hall.

The Group or Organization Award presented by South Carolina African American Heritage Foundation/ WeGOJA “recognizes a group or organization that has demonstrated extraordinary preservation or interpretation, or made significant contributions toward such efforts, for African American history and culture in South Carolina during 2020.”

During 2020, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, the oldest unmodernized house museum open to the public in the United States, launched a new audio tour of the historic house museum which focuses on the lives of the enslaved at Drayton Hall and an accompanying webinar series entitled,” Who Was Enslaved at Drayton Hall.” In conjunction, a new self-guided walking tour was created for the grounds of Drayton Hall that provides information about enslaved people and their enormous contributions across the site. In addition, Drayton Hall hosted a virtual symposium, Exploring Race, Place, & Identity through Lowcountry Collections, which featured curators and experts from organizations which emphasize African American history, research, expanded African American interpretation, and an ongoing commitment to greater inclusivity. The product of years of research by Drayton Hall’s curatorial group into primary source documentation, these efforts address the importance of the contribution of enslaved people to the wealth that created Drayton Hall, the care of the home and grounds, as well as their roles on the 76,000 acres of the Carolinas that the Drayton family farmed with the use of slave labor.

This work furthers Drayton Hall’s 2018 opening of a separate gallery in the historic Caretaker’s House which houses an exhibit on the post-Civil War period and the descendants of the formerly enslaved on the site.

Regarding this award, Drayton Hall’s President and CEO Dr. Carter C. Hudgins said, “This award is a testament to the extraordinary work of Drayton Hall Preservation Trust’s staff in their efforts to honor the contributions and histories of those formerly enslaved at Drayton Hall.”

About Drayton Hall Preservation Trust 

Drayton Hall Preservation Trust is a 501c3 non-profit organization which operates Drayton Hall, a National Trust for Historic Preservation site in the Ashley River Historic District of Charleston, South Carolina. The first fully executed Palladian edifice in North America, Drayton Hall was established by John Drayton in 1738.  In addition to the main house Drayton Hall is an active archaeological site that includes a postbellum caretaker’s house, visitor center with orientation hall and exhibit galleries, and a vast landscape complete with ornamental features, rice fields, and an African American Cemetery.  For more information about Drayton Hall, visit

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Patty Sailer
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