Cliveden, a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, proudly announces that Cliveden’s Living Kitchens, a public process to preserve and interpret two kitchens located on the property, has received a generous grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Located six miles from Center City in Historic Germantown, Cliveden was built in 1767 as the summer home of Benjamin Chew, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Province of Pennsylvania. Cliveden was the location of the 1777 Battle of Germantown during the Revolutionary War and a reenactment of the battle takes place on the site annually on the first Saturday in October. Research into the Chew Papers continues to reveal the family’s extensive slave holding, and today Cliveden serves the surrounding community and region as a center for the exploration of race, history, and memory.
Kitchens are a unique indicator of social and cultural change. Cliveden’s kitchens reflect the evolution of a household over 200 years, offering extant examples of kitchen spaces adapted over time. The 1767 Kitchen Dependency building was constructed separately from the main house. Preliminary research indicates this building may have served as living quarters for enslaved workers. The 1959 Mid-Century Modern pre-fabricated “Kitchen of the Future” was installed in an 18th century colonnade. By juxtaposing the simultaneous examination of the two kitchens, the project will explore how the past, over three centuries, informs the present.
Cliveden’s Living Kitchens will extend the opportunities for community engagement begun in the 2009 interpretive planning process that expanded the stories the site tells, juxtaposing the War for Independence and the Struggle for Freedom. Led by a team of local and community experts, Cliveden’s Living Kitchens will involve the community in the process to research and interpret the evolution of design, technology and utility of kitchens over time. Participants will explore the people who worked in the Cliveden kitchens – enslaved, indentured, immigrant and free – and the foodways and domestic history of the Chew family household over 300 years. Cliveden’s Executive Director, Dr. David Young, says of the project, “This discovery/recovery project will encourage people to consider History differently as they experience Cliveden’s two kitchens along with their own personal history. Virtually everyone has associations and memories related to kitchens. By sharing the project’s archaeological, architectural and social research, we will involve the public in the restoration and program goals for experiencing the spaces and explore together how kitchen history can inform contemporary issues, such as social mobility, food justice, and gender roles in America. Cliveden’s Living Kitchens will for invite the community to join us ‘at the table’ to deepen our understanding of race, history and memory, and strengthen the foundation for community renewal in Germantown.”
The goal of Cliveden’s Living Kitchens is to complete a comprehensive master plan for preserving and interpreting the two kitchens. This master plan will guide the restoration of the 1767 Kitchen Dependency and the 1959 Kitchen to their appearance, and perhaps function, at the time of their initial construction, and also generate future programming. For more information about Cliveden’s Living Kitchens or how you can participate in the process efforts, please visit www.cliveden.org or contact Brandi Levine at (215) 848-1777, [email protected]
Cliveden is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Built in 1767, Cliveden benefits from centuries of dedicated preservation efforts and remains one of the nation’s best-documented and least-altered Colonial houses. Cliveden creates a pride of place, where the past is valued, preserved, and accessible for the benefit of the community.
About The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative arts and heritage projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life, and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural leaders. For more information, visit pcah.us.