Summer

Tufts Student Focus Group Responds to Robbins House Visit

August 27th, 2018 • The Robbins House • Moderated by RH Interpreter Mary-Wren vanderWilden • Written by Robbins House Intern Emma Hodgdon

On a beautiful summer day in August, eleven undergraduate students from Tufts University visited the Robbins House as part of their university orientation program. The students’ initial reactions ranged from “humbled” and “thankful” to “surprised” and “empowered.” Upon entering the house, one student was disappointed at the lack of living space the two earliest families had; another was shocked at how limited the Garrison children’s space to study was, compared to her own. Many were struck by the story of Ellen Garrison Jackson and the “hurdles she had to go through to bring [her] case to court only for it to be dismissed.” They felt the Robbins House and its history reflected a national shift from “overt laws of slavery to subtle racism,” but commended the museum for being “one of the few places talking about it.” After hearing the stories of the Robbins and Hutchinson families, the students felt the Robbins House and its history showed that “every person’s efforts towards a just society really matters.”