Purchased Lives at the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Purchased Lives panel exhibition at Xavier University of Louisiana and Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center

THNOC exhibition at Louisiana Children’s Museum


Purchased Lives at the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865
on view through August 25, 2019
Illinois Holocaust Museum
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, Illinois

Regular museum hours and admission rates apply.

The Historic New Orleans Collection's award-winning traveling exhibition Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865 is now on view at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Illinois. Showcasing more than 75 original artifacts, slave narratives, and oral histories, the exhibition examines the period between America's 1808 abolishment of the international slave trade and the end of the Civil War, during which an estimated two million people were forcibly moved within the boundaries of the United States.

Through interactive displays, visitors can engage directly with historical records by tracking the shipment of more than 70,000 people to New Orleans. Purchased Lives also contains a collection of "Lost Friends" ads placed after the Civil War by newly freed people attempting to locate Illinois family members.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum uses special exhibitions to tell stories of inhumanity and resilience, both historical and present-day. Purchased Lives is on view through August 25, 2019.


Purchased Lives panel exhibition Xavier University of Louisiana and Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center

The Historic New Orleans Collection's panel version of Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865 is currently on view at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans and the Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center in Fairfax, Virginia. Based on content in the exhibition of original artifacts, the vibrant and informative panels feature reproductions of the artifacts, along with text detailing the many facets and effects of the domestic slave trade. The display is on view at both locations through February 28, 2019. In addition, Xavier Univesrsity of Louisiana is presenting weekly programming in conjunction with the exhibition. Visit their Facebook page for the most up-to-date programming information.

Curated by former THNOC historian Erin M. Greenwald, Purchased Lives examines the period between America’s 1808 abolition of the international slave trade and the end of the Civil War, during which an estimated two million people were forcibly moved within the confines of the United States. The domestic trade wreaked new havoc on the lives of enslaved families, as owners and traders in the Upper South—Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC—sold and shipped surplus laborers to the developing Lower South—Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Many of those individuals passed through New Orleans, which was the largest slave market in antebellum America.

The exhibition’s narrative is not limited to New Orleans, however. It examines a complex and divisive period of American history, helping viewers learn about the far-reaching economic and heartbreaking personal impact of the domestic slave trade.

During its 2015 run at THNOC’s Williams Research Center, Purchased Lives deeply impacted visitors, many of whom returned for two, three, four or more visits. In total, more than 15,000 people visited the display, with the final day seeing 667 people. By comparison, that same space saw 14,000 people during all of 2014.


THNOC exhibit at Louisiana Children's Museum

THNOC exhibition at Louisiana Children’s Museum

The Historic New Orleans Collection proudly collaborates with the Louisiana Children’s Museum to present an activity area that teaches children ages 4 through 10 about 19th-century life in the French Quarter through replicas of some of THNOC’s properties.

Visitors stroll through a reproduction of the Merieult House carriageway into a working courtyard, where they can wash and hang laundry, feed animals, and participate in other hands-on activities. Children can also role-play as shopkeepers inside a model of an old-fashioned general store.

In addition, six small-scale reproductions of other THNOC buildings recreate the environment of the French Quarter and offer a closer look at life and architecture in the city’s oldest neighborhood. Through its innovative use of social studies, technology, and urban planning lessons, the LCM exhibition introduces THNOC’s resources and facilities to a new generation.

The Louisiana Children’s Museum is located at 420 Julia Street in the Warehouse District between Magazine and Tchoupitoulas Streets. Visit www.lcm.org to learn more about LCM or call (504) 523-1357.