City of Alexandria Awarded National Trust for Historic Preservation Grant to Support Freedom House Museum

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City of Alexandria Awarded National Trust for Historic Preservation Grant to Support Freedom House Museum

For Immediate Release: July 6, 2018

The City of Alexandria has been awarded a $50,000 planning grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s newly established African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund for the preservation of the Freedom House Museum, located at 1315 Duke St., which formerly housed the headquarters of one of the nation’s largest slave traders. 

The City is one of 16 grantees that received support totaling $1 million for the first grant cycle of the African American Cultural Action Fund. This $25 million, multiyear national initiative is aimed at uplifting the largely overlooked contributions of African Americans by protecting and restoring African American historic sites and uncovering hidden stories of African Americans connected to historic sites across the nation.

“We are honored to receive this generous grant and be a part of the inaugural class of grantees that will help further preserve and interpret important African American cultural sites like Freedom House Museum,” said Gretchen Bulova, acting director of the City’s Office of Historic Alexandria. “The site was once a slave pen, where five successive companies profited from the sale of more than 10,000 enslaved men, women, and children. Preserving Freedom House is critical to ensuring that the stories of these African Americans, and their role in the history of Alexandria and the nation, are fully told.”

The Freedom House Museum is owned by the Northern Virginia Urban League and operated in partnership with the City of Alexandria. The Museum was once the headquarters and holding pen for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the country, Franklin & Armfield, from 1828 to 1836. Enslaved men, women, and children were purchased in the Chesapeake Bay area and forced to the slave markets in Natchez, Mississippi and New Orleans either by sea or over land. Similar operations continued on the site until Union occupation of Alexandria in 1861.

The grant will be used for development of a preservation plan to guide the collaborative efforts of the City and the Northern Virginia Urban League in the expanded interpretation, management and preservation of the Freedom House Museum. The broader vision for Freedom House is that it becomes a vital part of the City’s vibrant community of museums and historic sites, providing visitors with a greater understanding of slavery and the African American experience in early Alexandria.

For a full list of grant award recipients, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation website. For more information about the Museum, visit the Freedom House web page.

For media inquiries, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at or 703.746.3959.

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