Who is Uncle Tom? exhibition

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
  • Who is Uncle Tom-panel1
  • Who is Uncle Tom-2-panels
  • Who is Uncle Tom-panel2
  • Who is Uncle Tom-panel2
  • Who is Uncle Tom- visitor looking at panels
  • Who is Uncle Tom-panel1 and designer Natacha Poggio

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped to awaken the consciousness of a nation and changed not only how America, but how the world view the institution of slavery and the United States. To commemorate the 160th anniversary of the publication of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford commissioned Natacha Poggio the design of exhibition panels for its ‘Who is Uncle Tom?’ exhibit, which opened on March 8th, 2012 (International Women’s Day). The exhibit explored the evolution of Stowe’s title character in the public consciousness —from inspiration for the 19th-century’s abolitionist movement to today’s racial slur. Visitors discover how this “large, broad-chested, powerfully-made man…”, this “good, steady, sensible, pious fellow…” became synonymous with a subservient sell-out, often depicted as feeble, old and weak. The exhibit included images from the Stowe Center archives, depicting the character over time illuminating what it has become to mean to be called an ‘Uncle Tom.’

Client:Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Role:Art direction and graphic design