OCAAHS’ Juneteenth Celebration weaves the history of African Americans in Orange County through storytelling, song and dance, food, hands-on experiences, tours and historic demonstrations.

The Mere Distinction of Colour

The Mere Distinction of Colour is a multimedia exhibition that offers visitors the opportunity to hear the stories of those enslaved at Montpelier told by their living descendants, and explores the legacy of slavery in our lives today.

South Yard

The South Yard is a complex of reconstructed buildings that included the quarters of enslaved domestic servants. The South Yard features interpretive and furnished spaces that extend The Mere Distinction of Colour exhibit. Members of OCAAHS and the Montpelier Descendant Community worked with Montpelier staff to excavate, reconstruct, and interpret the South Yard.

Gilmore Cabin

Home to George Gilmore, who had been enslaved at Montpelier, his wife Polly, and generations of their family, today the Gilmore Cabin is fully restored to its 19th century appearance. Rebecca Gilmore Coleman, co-founder of OCAAHS and descendant of George Gilmore, was the leader in preserving the Gilmore Cabin and incorporating descendant involvement in how Montpelier interprets the past.

Orange Co. Churches

Learn the history of African American churches in Orange County and download a map to locate them.

Historic Crafts & Cooking

Renowned historic craftsmen and culinary experts conduct demonstrations during Juneteenth. These demonstrations educate visitors about the highly skilled work of enslaved African Americans on plantations.

Women of the American Civil War Era

The Women of the American Civil War Era is a group dedicated to sharing the important stories and contributions of African American women during the Civil War through living history.

Enslaved Cemetery

Working in collaboration with the Montpelier Enslaved Descendant Community and James Madison University, Montpelier is currently exploring ways to memorialize the Enslaved Cemetery.

Taryn Weaver as Harriet Tubman

Through powerful story telling and historic costuming Taryn Weaver transforms herself into Harriet Tubman. During the Juneteenth Celebration, she hosts Tea with Harriet and Me, where visitors are invited to sit and have a conversation with Harriet.

Buffalo Riders of Hampton Roads

Formed in 1997, this proud group of African American men and women, have a mission to keep alive; the memory and contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers. The 9th and 10th Cavalry soldiers served in the United States Army on horseback. Formed in 1866, they fought in the Indian Wars on horseback until 1944. There were also Buffalo Soldiers in the 25th and 34th Infantry. The soldiers served even into the Vietnam War.


United States Colored Troops

Reenactors of the 23rd United States Colored Troops Infantry Regiment are a regular feature of Juneteenth. They set up camps, where full uniforms, and share stories with visitors about what it was like to be a soldier during the Civil War.

Home Farm Complex

The Home Farm Complex was the center of life at Montpelier during the early 19th century. Composed of numerous slave quarters, an overseers house, a blacksmith shop, barns, and many other yet-to-be discovered buildings, the Home Farm Complex is the center of Montpelier’s current archaeological investigations.

Let’s LEARN together.

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