ODESSA, Del. — March 3, 2020 — In celebration of Harriet Tubman Day on Tuesday, March 10, the Historic Odessa Foundation’s permanent exhibit and tour “Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story” will be free to the public. Historic Odessa is a National Park Service Network to Freedom site.

HOF docents will guide visitors as they follow in the footsteps of Sam, a fugitive slave from Maryland, who was given refuge in the National Historic Landmark Corbit-Sharp House. The Corbit-Sharp House is part of The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in Delaware.

On a morning in 1845, a runaway slave by the name of Sam approached Mary Corbit begging for refuge. At the risk of punishment for harboring a fugitive slave, Mrs. Corbit hid Sam in an eave closet, a mere cubbyhole, on the third floor of the Corbit-Sharp House. When local authorities came looking for Sam, they determined that no one could fit within such a small space, so did not consider inspecting the space. Sam was able to continue his journey north to Pennsylvania and freedom.

For more information about Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story, or the Historic Odessa Foundation’s 2020 season tours, special exhibits, events, and Living History Education Program, visit www.historicodessa.org, or call 302-378-4119.

About Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross; 1822–1913) was an American abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout and spy for the United States Army during the American Civil War. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women’s suffrage. (Source: Wikipedia)

About Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story

In 2009, the foundation’s Corbit-Sharp House, a National Historic Landmark was accepted into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom by the National Park Service, which evaluated the site as “making a significant contribution to the understanding of the Underground Railroad in American history.”

Odessa was a key player in the Underground Railroad both geographically on the border of freedom and in terms of its population of abolitionists. Built-in 1772 and one of Delaware’s most historic homes and important examples of Georgian architecture, the Corbit-Sharp House is one of nine sites, two programs and two facilities in Delaware on the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom.

Freedom Seekers is part of the Historic Odessa Foundation’s mission to encourage the use of its historic buildings by the general public, students and scholars. The program has been developed as part of the Living History Education program in order to educate visitors and to broaden the interpretive mission on the role Odessa played in the Underground Railroad. The tour includes the exhibit Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story as well as an exploration of the Corbit-Sharp House and the hiding places and routes used by local abolitionists in Odessa to conceal and conduct slaves along in their journey to freedom in Philadelphia.

About the Historic Odessa Foundation

The Historic Odessa Foundation owns and operates The Historic Houses of Odessa, a 72-acre enclave of 18th and 19th century structures located in the town of Odessa, just two miles from DE 1 and just off U.S. Route 13 in southern New Castle County, Del. The original town of Odessa, originally known as Cantwell’s Bridge, has retained much of its 18th century charm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to a National Historic Landmark, and two National Park Service Network to Freedom sites.www.historicodessa.org

Through the end of December, the Historic Odessa Foundation offers regular tours of its landmark Delaware museum properties that house the foundation’s collection of more than 7,000 objects and furnishings that span an interpretive period in regional decorative arts from 1760 through 1850.

The houses and the foundations collections provide a background for a variety of events and educational programs for the public and schools throughout the season, including exhibits, lectures, entertainment, community and fundraising events. 

A member of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM), the Historic Houses of Odessa, owned and operated by the Historic Odessa Foundation, are open to the public March through December, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday by reservation. General Admission: Adults, $10; Groups, Seniors, Students, $8; and Children under six are free. Member discounts are available.