Sep 14, 2022 - Things to Do

Maymont expands focus on servants

A small room with a small bed labeled butlers room
Photo courtesy of Maymont

Maymont is expanding its exhibits about the domestic servants who kept the Gilded Age mansion humming.

What’s happening: The city-owned estate updated its 2005 exhibition “Work and Life in the Gilded Age,” which offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of the mostly Black staff employed at the estate from 1893 to 1925.

  • And a new audio tour continues that focus as visitors tour the rest of the house.

Context: The house’s two occupants employed two butlers, a cook, three maids and a laundress.

What they’re saying: Curators at Maymont said after nearly 20 years, it was time to expand the original exhibit’s focus beyond the job duties of domestic servants at the site. It will now include more context about their lives outside the estate in Jim Crow-era Richmond.

  • “We have this historical intersection of Jim Crow and the Gilded Age,” said Sylvio Lynch, who led Maymont’s African American Voices Initiative, during a tour Tuesday. “The question was: How do we provide a sense of that intersection at the mansion?”

Maymont also opened a new visitors center and classrooms.

  • And it opened the third floor of the mansion to the public with an exhibit that allows visitors to touch furniture, clothes and other objects from the era.

Details: The new exhibits open to the public Friday.

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