Presented by The Neill-Cochran House Museum
At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, 28% of the population of the City of Austin (977 men and women) was enslaved. Indeed, the birth and early growth of this city only occurred through the forced labor of the enslaved, conscripted by Edwin Waller as he moved towards the future national capital site in 1839, and brought by white Texans westward in the city’s first two decades.
And yet, the standard narrative of Austin’s early years has focused entirely on the stories and contributions of white (primarily) men, slaveholders themselves, like Waller, Abner Cook, and Marshall Pease, without even acknowledging the enslaved men and women who took Austin from concept to reality.
Reckoning with the Past is one example of a movement in contemporary Austin to begin to come to grips not only with the city’s history of enslavement but with the ways in which race and equity have played a significant role throughout the city’s history.
Though long suspected to have been a work and dwelling space for enslaved people, only in recent years has the Neill-Cochran House Museum come to understand that we are stewards of the only slave quarters structure still standing in Austin. We have the opportunity and the obligation to the men and women who built this site, and whose labor made possible the function of the home and surrounding property through the end of the antebellum period and then into the 20th century, to share their stories.
The museum is working with students and faculty at UT-Austin to conduct research into our site’s history and into Austin history more generally, ultimately with the goal of a complete reinterpretation and reinstallation of our “Dependency,” or slave quarters. This exhibition presents for the first time our collaborative work in process, which takes our site as one microcosm for the history of labor in Austin, and connects it to the city at large as well as to national events. We hope you will return in 2021 to see the culmination of these efforts as we work to rebalance the narrative of our site as well as of Austin’s history. Visit the UT School of Architecture page.
Opens: February 26, 2020
Closes: December 31, 2020
The Neill-Cochran House Museum is now open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11:00 am—4;00 pm. The museum encourages visitors to purchase tickets in advance. Entry times are staggered to one group per 15 minutes.
Guided Tours (recommended): Noon, 1:00 p.m., & 2:00 p.m. Reservations are required.
General admission $12; Seniors & students $10; Children 5 and younger $5
Self-guided tours: General admission $8; Seniors and students $6; Children 5 and younger free
Guided tours: $12/$10/$5
Group tours: $5 per person, $75 minimum
To make special arrangements for your course, contact:
Karen Kincaid Brady, NCHM Programming Director
Date and Time
Neill-Cochran House Museum 2310 San Gabriel Street Austin Texas 78705