Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

John Kneebone


This thesis provides an analysis of Shirley Plantation’s operation as a historic house museum from 1894 to the present period, and the Carter family’s dedication to keeping the estate within the family. The first chapter examines Shirley Plantation’s beginnings as a historic house museum as operated by two Carter women, Alice Carter Bransford and Marion Carter Oliver, who inherited the property in the late nineteenth century. The second chapter explores Shirley Plantation’s development as a popular historic site during the mid-twentieth century to the early part of the twenty-first century, and compares the site’s development to the interpretative changes that had been occurring at Colonial Williamsburg. The third chapter analyzes and critiques Shirley Plantation’s present interpretative focus as a historic site, with the fourth chapter offering suggestions for developing an exhibition that interprets the history of slavery at the plantation.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2013

Included in

History Commons