Special Collections Exhibit: Plants Plantations Labor Trade

February 18, 2020

The Department of Special Collections is proud to announce the opening of a new exhibit, “Plants Plantations Labor Trade,” a collection that illustrates the ripple effects of plantations around the world, focusing on crops and land use, racialized and forced labor, production techniques, and markets. It is displayed in conjunction with Sawyer Seminar  “Interrogating the Plantationocene,” Center for the Humanities, UW-Madison. 

The exhibit contains an eclectic assortment of  business records, product promotions, produce boycotts, sheet music, recordings, photographs, engravings, novels, political tracts, protest posters, and much much more. By amassing historical items from diverse aspects of plantation life the collection of items brings a more holistic view of plantations’ long history and global effects.

The exhibit explores topics such as forced labor revolutions, industrial plants manufacturing plantation raw product, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and others that play a role in plantation history. 

Please note that viewers may find some materials disturbing.

This collection is the result of a cohesive effort by the Archives and Library of Wisconsin Historical Society, Kohler Art Library, Memorial Library, Department of Special Collections, and Mills Music Library.

The exhibit was co-curated by Cynthia Bachhuber, Susan Barribeau, Tom Caw, Laura Martin, Robin Rider, Lisa Saywell, and Emilie Songolo.

Exhibits are open to all.

Special Collections hours are Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. 

“Plants Plantations Labor Trade,” will run January 13 – May 22, 2020.

Special Collections is located on the 9th floor of Memorial Library.