Maltz Museum of Jewish History
McLeod Plantation Historic Site
This was originally the front of the main house, but it was designated as the back the 20th century.
This was originally the back of the main house, but it was designated as the front the 20th century.
Inside the Main House
Centuries Old Live Oak Tree
View of the "front" from
inside the main house.
At McLeod Plantation, the live tour doesn’t go into the house, but you can download an app that takes you there along with eleven other places on the grounds. My traveling companion and I declined to do the app but did visit the house before our tour started. Within I was more amazed by what I didn’t see rather than what I did. It’s not furnished save for a couple of rugs, information signs and photos hanging on the walls. In several rooms there is a focus on the Gullah-Geechee people who still prosper in the region. A couple rooms contain some contemporary photos of them.
On my third visit to Charleston, South Carolina, I wanted to see McLeod (pronounced McCloud) Plantation Historic Site on James Island because I’d heard about it on the BBC World Service. That news organization aired a story about how visitors to the plantation were complaining that instead of focusing on the McLeod family, tours examined the lives of the plantation’s slaves. As a trained and sometimes active historian, I think it’s vital to examine history from the perspective of all its participants, so I applaud this. Having visited many a former slave plantation over the years, including Monticello, it is rare indeed that such places focus on anything but the plantation’s family and how it lived before the Civil War. Most of these houses are treated like pristine museums. Go to the dining room and you’ll see that the silverware and china laid out just so. In the parlor, notice this piece of original family furniture, and here in the hall is family chamber pot. This is not a bad thing so long as it’s contrasted with how the slaves made the money the family lived off of. The McLeod Plantation in any case does offer much information about its namesake family’s history.