Natchez National Historic Park, USA

Navigating life and liberty in the American South



Working in front of Magnolia Hall in NatchezCyArk

Expedition Overview

In 2014 CyArk and Trimble began the Atlantic Slave Trade Project to curate an interactive and immersive experience to complement ongoing research of slavery throughout the Atlantic region. The project seeks to further illuminate the connections between these sites and their place within the largest organized system of forced migration in history. Using the latest 3D laser scanning and reality capture technologies, CyArk scanned and modeled sites associated with the Transatlantic slave trade in an effort to better understand and preserve sites and the stories of enslaved peoples. CyArk and Trimble digitally documented two structures within the Natchez National Historical Park: Melrose Estate, an early 19th century Greek-revival style mansion, and William Johnson House, the mid 19th century home of a free African American man.

Horse in front of the William Johnson House in NatchezCyArk

Magnolia Hall in Natchez, MississippiCyArk

Introducing Natchez

Located on the terminus of the 444-mile Natchez Historic Parkway and at the southern end of the 2,320-mile long Mississippi River, Natchez National Historic Park preserves sites and stories of a global crossroads that people have passed through and taken root in for over 10,000 years. Throughout the 17th and 19th centuries, indigenous communities, European colonists from France, Britain, and Spain, American settlers, and enslaved peoples have shaped Natchez’s landscape. The name Natchez comes from American Indians who lived in the area until the violence of western expansion and the breakdown of Natchez-French relations forced them from the area in the early 18th century. While American Indians were forced to leave the area, others found Natchez a place marked by their enslavement. Known for once having the second largest slave market in the country, the Historic Park illuminates the complexities Natchez's role in a global system of slavery as well as people’s experiences of racial violence and enslavement.

Inside the Melrose Estate at Natchez National Historic Park.

William Johnson House at Natchez National Historic Park by CyArkCyArk

William Johnson House

The William Johnson House touches on the complexities of life in Natchez. For William Johnson, a free black man living in the pre-Civil War south, it presented both opportunity and constraints. Perhaps written within the walls of the house which Natchez National Historic Park preserves today, William Johnson’s diary paints a picture of the nuances of daily life. While many of his writings describe his business transactions, he also mentions people being set free, sold, and killed, illuminating the common-place nature of enslavement during this period of Natchez's history. 

Open Heritage 3D by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the generous support of Trimble and the following partners:

U.S. National Park Service

Friends of Forks in the Road

Visit Natchez

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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