Chatham-Kent residents and visitors will be able to walk into Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the first time in almost two years this weekend to help mark Emancipation Day in Chatham-Kent.

Steven Cook, manager at Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dresden says they’ll be reopening to the public on Saturday in time to celebrate.

“They can still do the virtual stuff, you can book a virtual tour online Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays,” Cook says. “But Saturday’s our first time being open to the public for actual walk-in visitors.”

CLICK HERE to book a visit to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, either in-person or virtually.

“We’ll do a COVID screening when they arrive here, and then we’ll do the normal tour. A guide will take them all through the interpretive centre, through the gallery, through the three buildings and two cemeteries, and share the history with them again.”

The Slavery Abolition Act came into effect on August 1st, 1834, freeing hundreds of thousands of African slaves and their descendants across the British Empire, including Canada.

Shannon Prince, local historian and curator of the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum says Emancipation Day is a chance to acknowledge those who fought for freedom.

“As descendants, we embrace the fact that our ancestors were part of that struggle and what they did for us,” Prince says. “So now it’s time for us, as that next generation, to continue because there’s so much left to be done to eradicate systemic racism, etc. We still have a long way to go, but we’ll get there.”

While the Buxton Historic Site is open for pre-scheduled tours right now, Prince says there are no special events planned for Emancipation Day. She says the local focus always shines on Uncle Tom’s Cabin, while celebrations in North Buxton revolve around Homecoming over the Labour Day weekend.

For information on scheduling a visit to the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum, CLICK HERE