Secrets of the Underground Railroad not left untold.

Secrets of the Underground Railroad not left untold.

Amber Oile

Staff Writer


On Nov. 16, the Port Huron Museum announced their showing of “The Passages of Freedom: Secrets of the Underground Railroad” exhibit.

Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., viewers may have their memory refreshed and learn new information on this period in time.

It also touches on the Quilting Sisters from different parts of Michigan, along with their stories, some in relation to the hardships from a different time.

Port Huron Museum exhibit. Photo Credit: Amber Oile


“Seeing the history again really brought the reality back to life in my mind,” said Julie Cowny of Yale, Mi. Her son, Joe Cowny, also found some fascination in the secret facts of history kept behind closed doors.

“I am always interested in learning new things about history, especially the Civil War,” said Joe Cowny.

In North America, the first African Americans were brought in 1619. The slave trade was abolished in 1808 in the United States, but you can find that out in anyone of your history books.

Safe houses were known as the secret hiding places for slaves attempting to escape. Slaves were hidden, sometimes behind staircases, in cramped areas for hours on end. Remaining quiet until word was given and the coast was clear to move.

Port Huron Museum exhibit. Photo Credit: Amber Oile

Gardeners, or guides, were known as conductors, and actual conductors were known as abductors.

Most had little chance of even knowing about the safe houses, because they were kept a secret.

Marilyn Heberer, a Port Huron Museum employee for 31 years and counting, had never even heard of this until the exhibit was shown. Heberer said, “It’s nice to learn new facts about history, although it must be hard to interpret a part of history that was never allowed to talk about.”

The Underground Railroad and Quilting Sisters exhibit is set to stay on display until Feb. 24, 2013.

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