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The President's House in Philadelphia

Ad Hoc Historians Press Packet, September 2003 • Section 1 of 10

September 9, 2003
Contact: Stephanie Wolf,
Ad Hoc Historians

No reasonable person could deny that our true history should be told. The Ad Hoc Historians have seen, and continue to see, our role as providing the Park and the public with the best up-to-date scholarship and analysis so that the Mall can reflect true history.

For this particular site and artifact this includes:

  1. the Ad Hoc Historians will continue, as they did with the content of the Liberty Bell Center exhibit, to advise and review the museum installation to see that it reflects the best current scholarship and analysis

  2. the Ad Hoc Historians want to see a significant physical presence on the site of the executive branch of the government and the residence of the first two presidents. Adding adequate representation and understanding of the executive mansion are critical since this branch of government is the only one not currently represented on the Mall. The failure of the U. S. Constitution to abolish slavery and its continued presence at the executive mansion, including the Fugitive Slave Act signed there in 1793, are part of this interpretation. These matters are necessarily part of the Liberty Bell Center discussion, since the site of the Center overlaps that of the “president’s house”

  3. Including an appropriately worthy commemoration of the African-American presence, both enslaved and free, on the site and in the area. We want to be sure that the best scholarship and analysis lie behind the commemoration of African-American life, work and culture in this city, both as enslaved people and as free Philadelphians. This includes examination of the part played by the Washingtons in owning and using slaves, as well as that played by John Adams in rejecting slavery.

The Congress has mandated a commemoration on this site and suggested $4 million as the cost of creating it. Our mission, on which we are agreed, is to complete the work begun with the Olin Partnership preliminary proposal, by building in wider community concerns and the real history of the site.

Ad Hoc Historians Press Packet, September 2003 • Section 1 of 10

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