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“Thorough and entertaining” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Slave Haven / Burkle Estate Museum

Slave Haven / Burkle Estate Museum
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Memphis African American Heritage Tour With Transportation
Ranked #12 of 152 things to do in Memphis
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Visitors can tour the tunnels used by runaway slaves who stopped at this plantation, one of the stations of the Underground Railroad.
st louis, mo
Level Contributor
41 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Thorough and entertaining”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2013

When we drove up to this house, it was not the least bit impressive. The sign in the front yard was the only indication of our being in the right place. You enter through the back porch door and we were greeted by a very nice person. There is a docent who leads you through the home and explains the history of the home and also the underground railroad. The docent was fantastic. I grew up in a small town in Illinois that was part of the underground railroad at one time so I felt that I was very knowledgeable. Instead I learned a lot from this docent. This place was truly interesting and makes you think about the past. Everyone should take this tour.

Visited July 2013
Thank 2travel039
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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384 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2013

My family and I recently visited the slave haven, and it is a real waste of money. I LOVE learning about the history of the underground railroad, but have never visited an actual site that was part of it, so I was really excited for our visit. BOY, was I disappointed. They spend about 2 minutes actually talking about the underground railroad (and most of the "facts" they spew are not true). The rest of the tour basically talks about how bad slavery was, and how bad racism was/is, and is pretty much just a collection of the "tour guides'" opinions and made-up-on-the-spot "facts". The slave trade and conditions of slavery could have been touched on for 5 minutes prior to spending the rest of the tour time actually talking about the underground railroad, but this is, unfortunately, not how it went.

The other issues we had with this "museum" is that the "guides" claimed that some archaeologists many, many years ago (c. 1992) visited the site to determine whether or not it was actually used as a slave haven. Though, this was not elaborated on and it was never actually stated whether or not it was a historical site that was part of the underground railroad - everything relating to whether the house was actually part of the underground railroad was very vague. They also didn't talk much about the family that lived there and their contributions to the underground railroad either (probably because it didn't actually happen).

Other issues: It's expensive for what it is ($10, and if you read the other reviews it seems like they charge you what they want when they want - in June of this year I read a review that said it was $15). No photography is allowed. There are no self-guided tours - if you try to leave the group they wait until you come back or leave the building before continuing. The house looks like it's falling apart - I'm not sure where any of the money they receive from unfortunate customers that are being deceived goes, but it definitely isn't going into this facility. There is no parking lot - only street parking, on a pretty busy, crappy street where the sidewalks have sinkholes, REALLY safe for handicapped visitors. Lastly, if you're white you will basically feel quite unwelcome, talked down to, and like you need to apologize for slavery and racism. It's just an all-around sad, disappointing experience.

To quote my mother once we left, "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I'm free at last."

I didn't go into as much detail as other people who seemed to have the same experience as I did, and my review might seem biased/less specific about the details of the entire visit. SO, I highly encourage anyone who is still unsure about visiting to read the other reviews listed under poor and terrible. Some of these reviews did a really good job of explaining what the experience is like.

Visited July 2013
16 Thank P S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“So much information. The best tour I have ever received”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2013

I take my niece (9) and nephews (9 & 10) on a trip each year. This year we headed down to Memphis and took a trip to Slave Haven. It was Amazing. The kids learned so much and had so many questions. I felt like the material was age appropriate and it taught them tools that they can apply today. They were beyond excited about being honorary Abolitionist and wanted to immediately send their parents a picture of their certificates. I also learned a lot of valuable information while there. I don't believe it was one person in our group of 15 (age range from 9-older 60) that did not have a question or comment to add during the tour. The tour guide was so engaging and the amount of knowledge I gained while there surpassed my expectations.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank lex t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sauk City, Wisconsin, United States
Level Contributor
150 reviews
113 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“History comes to life”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2013

This unassuming museum sits in a residential neighborhood. Once you step inside the back entrance door you are whisked away by one of several tour guides(we had 3 during our visit). These women must be history majors with a love of music and story telling because what they said and sang will resonate with you long after you leave. One guide led us through the tour of the house, including the trap door and basement where slaves waited until they were able to escape to the North, in particular, Canada. Another guide explained the history of the people in the town, the homeowners, and of the Underground Railroad. Probably the most amazing experience occurred when we learned of the history of the quilts and their meanings, the songs the slaves sang and the lyrics with hidden meanings, and the other information given on slavery in general. The one fault is that no cameras are allowed. I bought several books here also, but you may be able to find them more inexpensively elsewhere. Overall, this is a place not to be missed.

Visited June 2013
3 Thank Sandy O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shreveport, Louisiana
Level Contributor
133 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Bringing History Alive”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 6, 2013

I want to liken this to the Ann Frank swinging bookshelf or the Corry Ten Boom Hiding Place. It was moving to see the trap door where run away slaves would find reguge underground until safe passage was available to Canada. Highly Recommend.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank foemmel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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