Network to Freedom relationship helps Hayes educate students

Press Staff Writer

        When a group of high school students recently took a field trip to the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums in Fremont, their visit included a look at stories of slavery and freedom-seekers during an artifact activity and talk.
        Kevin Moore, curator of artifacts, showed the students, from Rutherford B. Hayes High School in Delaware, Ohio, shackles and a key used to hold enslaved people at a building in Alexandria, Virginia, which is today a museum. The artifacts are part of Hayes Presidential’s collections and were acquired by President Hayes.
        During the talk, Moore was able to connect the shackles and key to their time and place by showing students a historic photo of slave-housing building in Alexandria, which was later used by Union troops as a prison. He also showed them photos of the building’s new use as a museum.
        Moore was able to connect the artifact, photos and story by using a SMART Board that was purchased through a grant from the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom to show the photos and illustrate his points. This is one example of the SMART Board’s use in education at Hayes Presidential.
        “Allowing students to see objects, such as shackles that were used to bind human beings in our country, provides a direct connection to the past that cannot be provided simply through words or pictures,” said Dustin McLochlin, Ph.D., Hayes Presidential historian. “The combination of giving this first-hand interaction with direct visuals of slavery and the origins of these objects through our SMART Board provides another method for our museum to enrich student learning.”
        The Network to Freedom is a group of more than 600 sites across the United States that connect in some way to the Underground Railroad. The Hayes Home is part of the network because President Rutherford B. Hayes defended runaway slaves while he worked as an attorney in Cincinnati. The home itself was not a stop on the Underground Railroad.
        “We are excited to deepen our connection with the Network to Freedom,” McLochlin said. “Being part of this group has given us the resources to further research and educate others on Hayes’ involvement with the ending of slavery.”
        For information, call 419-332-2081, or visit


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