Now that I am more than halfway through my museum visits, I realized that I’ve accumulated a good deal more numbers that I am used to in history. I thought it would be interesting, and perhaps a bit fun, to look at some of the numbers I have and see if there is any meaning in it.
Number of museums visited: 28
Number of tours taken: 29
Number of homes lived in by a president visited: 6
Number of plantations that connected themselves to Thomas Jefferson: 6
Average number of times the word slave was said on a house tour: 4.04
Most mentions of slavery at one site: 12
Number of sites that did not use the word “slave” at all: 3
Number of museums visited that had no bearing on my project: 3
Number of pages of typed notes I’ve accumulated: 34
Number of sites that talked about closets how it was unusual that the house had closets because they were taxed (they weren’t): 6
Number of sites that prided themselves on their original woodwork in main structure: 7
Number of sites that mentioned that slaves built the main structure: 2
Looking at the numbers, it is interesting to see what they don’t tell. The site at which the tour guide said the word “slave” the most times, Tuckahoe Plantation, was by no means the best site for a thorough discussion of slavery. It probably has the most mentions of the word slave because the tour was about an hour and a half long. On top of this, simple numbers don’t take into account whether or not a site gives a complex portrayal of slavery. What it does show is that a number of sites find discussions of the authenticity of a home more important than who built it. And that there are a good number of sites that are uninformed about closet taxation in the 18th century.