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The historic former home of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass will reopen to the public on July 4 for the first time since 2020.
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. will reopen at 11 a.m. on Independence Day for the first time since it was forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, according to the National Park Service. Since then, the home underwent renovations so a new HVAC system could be installed, which was required since changing humidity levels can cause damage to both historic oil paintings and the finish on furniture.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site following this important project,” Tara D. Morrison, the park superintendent, said in a statement. “The new HVAC system provides a consistent temperature and humidity level, which is essential to preserving the home and the 3,000 items that belonged to Douglass — one of the largest collections of Frederic Douglass’s items.”
The home will reopen with a special ceremony, including a dramatic portrayal of Douglass’ speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
When it reopens, the NPS will host ranger-lead tours of the entire house from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. that day. Timed tickets will be available at the event.
Then starting July 5, the historic home will be open for timed entry tours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be reserved in advance online on Recreation.gov.
The home itself at Cedar Hill was originally built between 1855 and 1859 for an architect from Philadelphia, according to the NPS. In 1877, Douglass — who was born into slavery in 1818 before escaping — purchased it and lived there until his death in 1895.
Now, visitors to the home can view Douglass’s library along with his personal items like the violin he played when his grandchildren and guests visited, the hat rack that stood at the front entrance hall, and the kerosine lamps the Douglass family used throughout the home.