Unless otherwise noted, all lectures and book talks are held in the Slave Quarters located at 15 George Street in Medford, Massachusetts. Visit our Directions and Map page for more information.
We’re Hiring! Museum Tour Guide Job Openings
Job Title: Museum Tour Guide, Royall House and Slave Quarters
Opportunity for creative, imaginative, and enthusiastic people to join a dynamic nonprofit on the forefront of public history.
In the eighteenth century, the Royall House and Slave Quarters was home to the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts and the enslaved Africans who made their lavish way of life possible. Today, the Royall House and Slave Quarters is a museum whose architecture, household items, archaeological artifacts, and programs bear witness to intertwined stories of wealth and bondage, set against the backdrop of America’s quest for independence. The Royall House and Slave Quarters is a National Historic Landmark located in Medford, Massachusetts.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Tour guides are responsible for helping people visit unfamiliar areas. In the case of the Royall House and Slave Quarters, the unfamiliar terrain is that of slavery in colonial New England. The position of museum tour guide is responsible for leading tours of the mansion, slave quarters, and grounds. The foundation of the tour is a discussion of colonial slavery in New England. Against that backdrop we relate the interdependent stories of the Royall family and the people— Belinda, Joseph, Prine, and many more —who were enslaved on this plantation. Finally, we address the contribution of unpaid labor to the colonial economy. Great tour guides are interested in the subject matter and bring energy and enthusiasm to their work.
- Availability to conduct public tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. The tour season runs from the weekend of May 19th to the last weekend in October. There may be opportunities for additional private and group tour work on weekdays based on desire and availability.
- Ability to lead up to three group tours in a three hour period, each tour lasting approximately 45 minutes (some tours may run over due to the size of the group)
- Ability to speak in front of a group of up to 15 people (occasionally as many as 20) and to answer questions.
- Ability to create an atmosphere where all visitors feel welcome and respected.
- Ability to discuss material that makes some people feel uncomfortable while creating an open, question-friendly environment.
Ability to conduct a tour that requires standing, walking, and climbing stairs in an 18th century mansion and on grass-covered grounds.
Relevant experience includes but is not limited to: museum guide or docent, teaching, group or project leadership, public speaking, facilitation, and/or diversity leadership.
Please submit a resume and letter of interest to Director@royallhouse.org by April 22, 2018. You may also mail the same to the Royall House and Slave Quarters at 15 George Street, Medford MA 02155. Please email any questions to Director@royallhouse.org, and someone will get back to you promptly.
We will host an Open House for prospective guides on April 21, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Royall House and Slave Quarters (15 George Street, Medford MA). Feel free to drop by if you are interested in becoming a museum tour guide, have not seen the museum and would like a tour, if you have questions, or just to say “hi”!
Training for guides will occur on May 5, 2018 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm; and on May 9, 2018 from 6:00-8:00 pm. If you cannot make those dates, we may possibly schedule alternates.
“An American Quilt: Unfolding a Story of Family and Slavery” with author Rachel May
Wednesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m.
We are delighted to announce Rachel May’s return to our site to discuss her book due out on May 1st, 2018: “An American Quilt: Unfolding a Story of Family and Slavery”.
Rachel May’s rich new book explores the far reach of slavery, from New England to the Caribbean, the role it played in the growth of mercantile America, and the bonds between the agrarian south and the industrial north in the antebellum era—all through the discovery of a remarkable quilt.
May is the author of Quilting with a Modern Slate, a 2014 Library Journal and Amazon.com Best Book of the Year. Her writing has received multiple awards, and she’s been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. She’s an assistant professor at Northern Michigan University and lives in Marquette, Michigan.
Free admission for members; non-members, $10.
Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land, with Historian Kate Clifford Larson
Note: Kate Clifford Larson’s talk on Harriet Tubman has been postponed to October 17, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. due to inclement weather.
Known widely as a simple and courageous mother figure, in fact Harriet Tubman was an intelligent, crafty, fearless visionary who transcended assumptions about black women’s abilities, leading scores of enslaved people to freedom. Drawing from a trove of primary documents as well as extensive genealogical research, historian Kate Clifford Larson‘s Bound for the Promised Land reveals Tubman as a complex woman–brilliant, shrewd, deeply religious, and passionate in her pursuit of freedom.
Since writing the first adult biography of Tubman, Professor Larson has consulted with numerous public history initiatives related to Harriet Tubman’s life and her role in the Underground Railroad. At this expanded book talk, she’ll discuss new scholarship about Tubman–including the recently discovered portrait of her as a young woman–and recent efforts to memorialize this brave hero in her native Maryland and in New York State.
Copies of Bound for the Promised Land will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
Free admission for members; non-members, $10.
“In Honor of the Enslaved Whose Labor Created Wealth That Made Possible the Founding of Harvard Law School”
Harvard Law School was founded in 1817 through a bequest from Isaac Royall Jr., whose family’s significant wealth was largely derived from the labor of enslaved people on Antiguan sugar plantations. We were honored to be present at the unveiling of this memorial “In honor of the enslaved whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of Harvard Law School.”
Royall Professor of Law Janet Halley “read aloud the known names of enslaved men, women, and children of the Royall household from records that have survived. She noted that many of the names—just first names, with no last names—were probably not the original names that had been given to these individuals at birth.
“‘These names then are the tattered ruined remains, the accidents of recording, and the encrustation of a system that sought to convert human beings into property,’ Halley said. ‘But they’re our tattered ruined remains, and I thought I would devote my remarks to reading them out.'”