A More Complete American Story | James Madison's Montpelier

Open to the public on June 4, 2017, to a crowd of over 800 people, The Mere Distinction of Colour was the culmination

of years of archaeological and historical research, with the goal of telling a more complete, holistic American story.

The exhibition spans the cellars of James and Dolley Madison's plantation home and the South Yard of the property,

where the domestic and field slaves lived and worked. Photos by Eduardo Montes-Bradley.


As pertaining to the exhibit

National Council on Public History

2018 Outstanding Public History Project Award

Presented for work that contributes to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past, or that serves as a model for professional public history practice.

American Alliance of Museums

2018 Media & Technology MUSE Awards


Presented for outstanding media achievements by Galleries, Libraries, Archives or Museums (GLAM). Presented by the International Alliance of Media and Technology Professionals Network, these awards are reserved for institutions or independent producers who used digital media to enhance the museum experience and engage audiences.

Silver MUSE Award: Video, Film & Computer Animation | “Legacies of Slavery”

“Legacies presents us with an opportunity to give thought to the contemporary consequence of slavery in the U.S. Powerful images flood and fade across a collage of screens of different sizes and orientations creating a dynamic platform to tell of the black American experience. With a skillful balance of historical research and journalism, the film pulls from past and present archival media sources to emphasize the complexity of historical racial bias.”

Silver MUSE Award: Multimedia Installations | “Fate in the Balance”

“The simple black and white overall look and feel is actively speaking to its audience with its metaphoric color oppositions. The voiceovers – drawn from archival materials such as period diaries and newspaper articles – give the past a strong voice to communicate the understanding that human beings suffered under slavery. This is a very powerful program.”


American Association for State and Local History 

2018 Leadership in History Awards

Presented to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all people. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. These awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena.

2018 Award of Merit

Presented to recognize excellence for projects (including civic engagement, special projects, educational programs, exhibits, publications, etc.), and individual achievement.

2018 History in Progress award

An additional award, given at the discretion of the committee, for an Award of Merit winner whose nomination is highly inspirational, exhibits exceptional scholarship, and/or is exceedingly entrepreneurial in terms of funding, partnerships, or collaborations, creative problem solving, or unusual project design and inclusiveness.