The exhibition is located in the cellars of Madison’s Montpelier home and in the South Yard, adjacent to the house, where many of the slaves would have lived. The Mere Distinction of Colour is the culmination of years of archaeological and historical research, culminating in an emotional, fact-based account of slavery's influence on, and the contributions of the enslaved to, the founding of our country.

The exhibit is an interactive walk through and account of what Montpelier describes as “A more complete American story”

Descriptor panels with custom made beam brackets are built to be installed non destructively to preserve the original structures.

Multimedia display with video mapped to screens featuring rolling content and a historical journey through the cost of slavery.


Built to fit into a basement hearth, this display features artifacts uncovered on the property, a piece of the day to day of a slaves life.

A heavily interactive room featuring graphic panels wired to buttons to display statistics and timelines. Anchoring the room is the “Constitution Table”

Pressing a button on the Constitution panel lights up the corresponding decoder panel, further explaining how the passage relates to, and ultimately protected, slavery in the United States.

Brick mosaic of young enslaved boy constructed out of brick pieces excavated from the South Yard. Some of the shards contained fingerprints of the brick makers