Nathan and Polly Johnson House AD Tour

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Nathan And Polly Johnson House AD Transcript

[1] TIME IN: 00:00:02:01 DURATION: 13:09 TIME OUT: 00:00:15:10

A small entry room with light blue walls and finished hardwood floors. A staircase ascends to a second story along the right wall. A framed Civil War Recruiting Poster dated 1863 hangs on the wall at the foot of the staircase.

[2] TIMEI N: 00:00:20:09 DURATION: 14:00 TIME OUT: 00:00:34:09

A small table and chairs in the entryway. A portrait of Frederick Douglass in a gilded frame hangs on the wall. A doorway leads to another room.

[3] TIME IN: 00:00:37:20 DURATION: 09:07 TIMEOUT: 00:00:46:27

A portrait on the wall of Lewis Temple, Jr., the son of Lewis Temple Sr., the inventor of the Toggle Iron, which advanced the technology of whaling harpoons.

[4] TIME IN: 00:00:49:18 DURATION: 19:03 TIME OUT: 00:01:08:21

A chest of drawers in the entryway displays an assortment of New Bedford related novelties. Included are a miniature statue of Lewis Temple, the African-American inventor of the toggle-ironed harpoon, a bust of Sergeant William Carney, and bookends of the New Bedford’s famous “Whaler’s Statue.”

[5] TIME IN: 00:01:10:22 DURATION: 16:15 TIME OUT: 00:01:27:07

A small table beside the front door displays an assortment of brochures. The Nathan and Polly Johnson House is preserved by the New Bedford Historical Society.

[6] TIME IN: 00:01:29:27 DURATION: 12:15 TIME OUT: 00:01:42:12

A doorway to the left of the front door leads to a parlor room with soft blue-green walls and dark hardwood floors with an ornate red rug in the center. A small round table with four chairs stands in the center of the room.

[7] TIME IN: 00:01:44:20 DURATION: 11:17 TIME OUT: 00:01:56:07

A portrait of Henry Onley hangs on the wall to the left. Henry Onley and his wife Martha operated a funeral home business for people of color in New Bedford.

[8] TIME IN: 00:01:59:03 DURATION: 27:26 TIME OUT: 00:02:26:29

Period furniture was donated to furnish the house. Several chairs stand along the walls of the parlor, including a dark wood chair with black upholstered seat from Headly and Reed photography studios in New Bedford. James Reed was one of four African-Americans to photograph Frederick Douglass. Sergeant William Carney of the 54th Massachusetts posed for a photograph in this chair in Reed’s studio.

[9] TIME IN: 00:02:30:18 DURATION: 19:20 TIME OUT: 00:02:50:08

An original hand-lettered poster of the Emancipation Proclamation belonging to Lewis Hayden, a Boston revolutionary, hangs on the parlor wall.

[10] TIME IN: 00:02:54:10 DURATION: 35:11 TIME OUT: 00:03:29:21

A small table displays a photo, two small clocks, and a decorative lamp. A purple sofa with decorative pillows stands against the wall. Period furniture was donated to furnish the house. Above the sofa on the wall hangs a portrait of Martha Onley in a gilded frame.

[11] TIME IN: 00:03:35:28 DURATION: 34:19 TIME OUT: 00:04:10:17

A small table against a wall of the parlor features two small framed portraits. One portrait is of Martha Bailey Briggs, the first female graduate of New Bedford High School. She taught former slaves how to read and write in her father’s New Bedford home. She later became the principal of the Normal Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The second portrait on the table is of Lewis Henry Douglass, the oldest son of Frederick Douglass in his army uniform. Lewis Douglass served in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the American Civil War.

[12] TIMEI N: 00:04:13:07 DURATION: 12:12 TIME OUT: 00:04:25:19

On the wall above the table hangs a portrait of Mary Buchanan, granddaughter of Polly Johnson. She sold the house and its contents to fund MIT scholarships for young men of color.

[13] TIME IN: 00:04:28:13 DURATION: 25:20 TIME OUT: 00:04:54:03

A second doorway in the parlor leads to a dining room with soft yellow walls and a dark hardwood floor with an ornate red carpet. A Civil War Recruiting Poster dated 1863 hangs on the wall to the right. A dining table and three chairs displays intricate china cups and candelabras against the wall.

[14] TIME IN: 00:04:56:09 DURATION: 25:05 TIME OUT: 00:05:21:14

A portrait of Frederick Douglass hangs on the wall beside the dining room table. A frame on the mantel of a fireplace features the portraits of William and Amelia Piper. The Pipers escaped slavery, arrived in New Bedford, and became Underground Railroad conductors. A second frame on the mantel features the portrait of Margaret Gibson, who was sent to live with Polly by her father and slave owner, Patrick Gibson.

[15] TIME IN: 00:05:24:06 DURATION: 25:20 TIME OUT: 00:05:49:26

An artwork titled Black Troops in the Civil War depicting the 54th Regiment storming Fort Wagner, Charleston, South Carolina hangs on a wall of the dining room. A settee and chairs stand against the wall. Two 19th century style dolls sit in the middle of the settee. Polly and Nathan took care of several enslaved children who were left with them to care for. These 19th century style dolls recount the stories of the Brown, the Harris, and the Gibson families.

[16] TIME IN: 00:05:52:25 DURATION: 11:23 TIME OUT: 00:06:04:18

A Civil War Recruiting Poster reads: "Men of Color -- to Arms!" and lists New Bedford Black Soldiers of the Civil War in the 54th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

[17] TIME IN: 00:06:10:12 DURATION: 13:14 TIME OUT: 00:06:23:26

A doorway in the dining room leads to a small sitting room with a serving table, several chairs, and a fireplace. Three different portraits of a young Frederick Douglass adorn the mantel.

[18] TIME IN: 00:06:32:12 DURATION: 23:24 TIME OUT: 00:06:56:06

A makeshift wall of informative exhibit panels is titled “From Slavery to Freedom: Frederick Douglass, The New Bedford Years, 1838-1843." Two 19th century style dolls sit on a rocking chair. The Underground Railroad is often presented as a journey that single males would attempt, but the Johnson House tells the stories of several women who took the perilous journey with their children.

[19] TIME IN: 00:06:57:19 DURATION: 11:01 TIME OUT: 00:07:08:20

A serving table displays metal dinnerware and candles. A portrait of Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet members at the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation hangs on the wall.


Explore the Nathan and Polly Johnson House through an interactive and video tour