Old Salem Announces New Initiative

The Hidden Town Project

News media contact
Scott Carpenter
336.722.9660 or scott@capturevalue.com


WHO: Old Salem Museums & Gardens President and CEO Frank Vagnone, along with staff members Cheryl Harry and Martha Hartley, will announce a major new groundbreaking initiative called the Hidden Town Project.

WHAT: The Hidden Town Project will research and reveal the history of the “hidden” community of enslaved and free Africans and African Americans who once lived in Salem, North Carolina.

WHEN: Thursday, August 17

  • 11:30 a.m. – Overview, announcement and presentation
  • 11:45 a.m. – Q&A (including opportunities for one-on-one media interviews)
  • 12:15 p.m. – Tour of the Historic District with focus on Hidden Town

WHERE: Old Salem Museums & Gardens – Gray Auditorium (inside the Visitor Center) – 900 Old Salem Road



The Hidden Town Project will track the effects and legacy of enslaved people from the inception of Salem itself through the Jim Crow Era and into the 21st Century. Since December 2016, a diverse, cross-functional committee of Old Salem staff and external scholars has been gathering regularly to research, discuss, and formulate a larger strategy to bring to the public this lesser-known aspect of the Moravian town of Salem. Once more data is compiled, this committee will expand to include descendants of the enslaved as well residents of early Salem.

Even in these early stages of the research, it is becoming clear that by revealing and interpreting the dwellings, lives, families, and behaviors of the urban enslaved, Winston-Salem’s Old Salem Historic District might become one of the most important and comprehensive national historic and archaeological sites relative to urban slavery.