harriet tubman museum

Elizabeth Catlett’s In Harriet Tubman I helped hundreds to freedom (1946) celebrates Tubman’s guidance of travelers along the Underground Railroad. In Catlett’s depiction, Tubman points assuredly ahead. Yet she also looks cautiously over her shoulder, a gesture that reminds the viewer of the palpable risks she faced while helping others.

This week, we’re sharing prints from Elizabeth Catlett’s The Negro Woman series. The entire series will go on view later this spring as part of a new permanent collection exhibition. You can see them all on our website


[Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012), In Harriet Tubman I helped hundreds to freedom, 1946, printed 1989. From the series The Negro Woman. Linoleum cut, Sheet (Irregular): 10 ¼ × 7 3/4in. (26 × 19.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Print Committee 95.194. Art © Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY]

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We had a special sneak peek inside the beautiful National Museum of African American History and Culture this morning. The press were packed into the theater!

Two of our favorite things from the exhibit spaces were Harriet Tubman’s lace shawl, presented to her by Queen Victoria of England in 1897, and the interactive lunch counter where you could sit down and explore documents about the Civil Rights movement on a digital screen. (We work at the National Archives! We really love documents.)

We also sampled delicious food at the Sweet Home Cafe–we can recommend the pepper pot, pickled green beans, berry cobbler, and well, pretty much everything….

 The museum opens its doors to the public on September 24. Stop by the National Archives and see the Act that created it, now on display!