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Visiting the Cabin

Individuals and families

Self-guided: Your self-guided tour includes a 12-minute video presentation, the Underground Railroad Freedom Gallery, two cemeteries and three historical buildings. Staff are available to answer your questions.The self-guided tour brochure is available in English, French, German, Dutch, Japanese, Polish and Chinese.

Please note: All pathways, washrooms and the lower level of our historical buildings are wheelchair accessible.

Groups

A guided tour is available for organized groups of 20 people or more. There is no extra fee for guided tours. A guided tour includes:

Orientation in the North Star Theatre:

  • Your tour guide will provide historical background information on the museum and conduct a question-and-answer period.

A video presentation in the North Star Theatre. Depending on your schedule, two videos are available for viewing in the theatre:

  • Josiah Henson: His Life, His Legacy – This brief video production provides an excellent introduction to the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site and its important role in preserving and promoting Ontario’s rich African-Canadian history. (2009; Length: 12 minutes; Note: This video is available in English only)
  • Father Henson: His Spirit Lives On – This live-action documentary traces Josiah Henson’s life from birth and slavery in Maryland to his role as abolitionist, preacher, author and co-founder of the British American Institute. Actors from the local community help bring this exciting period piece to life. (2006; Length: 26 minutes; Note: This video is available in English only)

A guided tour of the Underground Railroad Freedom Gallery:

  • The gallery features the geography and history of enslaved people in the United States, from the journey from Africa through slavery in the United States, and on to freedom in British North America. The gallery also includes exhibits about the life of Josiah Henson and the development of the British American Institute.

A walking tour of the courtyard: All pathways, washrooms and the lower level of our historical buildings are wheelchair accessible. Guests are able to enter and view exhibits on the main floors of the following structures:

  • The Henson Family Cemetery: Adjacent to the church, the cemetery includes the Josiah Henson memorial stone and National Historic plaque. Across the road is the burial ground for the Dawn Settlement and the British American Institute.
  • The Pioneer Church: Built around 1850, this modest, rural church was moved from Mersea Township to this site in 1964 and is representative of the churches in which Reverend Henson preached while living at Dawn. Reverend Josiah Henson was most closely associated with the Dawn settlement’s British Methodist Episcopal (B.M.E.) Church in which he preached many of his sermons. That church was demolished in the 1940s due to safety concerns, although the organ was saved and is displayed inside this church.
  • The James Harris House: The house of James Harris and family is representative of a common post-and-beam construction Black settlers would have built and lived in on the Dawn settlement. The house is thought to be one of the oldest remaining structures in the Dresden area.
  • The Josiah Henson House: Josiah Henson lived in this structure during the latter period of his life until his death in 1883. Although the cabin has been moved three times, it has always remained on the original Dawn Settlement lands. Opened as a museum in the 1940s by local historian Frank Chapple, it was moved to its present location in 1964 by then-curator Jack Thomson, and restored to an 1850 appearance in 1993-94.

Dedicated complimentary motor coach parking is available onsite. Complimentary automobile parking is available for up to 40 vehicles.

Groups are encouraged to book at least one week in advance to guarantee space and a tour guide.

Payment may be made in advance or on arrival. Accepted methods of payment include: cash, Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

If cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the tour date, full payment for your group is required.

Prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and include all applicable taxes. Fair exchange is always given on US currency.

Complimentary admissions and meals are available for drivers and escort with a minimum of 20 paid admissions.

To discuss group rates and plan your tour, please contact Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site directly at 519-683-2978 or by email at: utchs@heritagetrust.on.ca.



African Canadian Heritage Tour – A group tour experience

The north shore of Lake Erie was a primary destination for fugitive slaves following the north star to Canada and freedom. This overnight excursion to the northern terminus of the Underground Railroad of activists and abolitionists who helped thousands of enslaved African Americans escape from the southern United States is also a journey about the innate desire to be free.

This package can be used whether your approach is through the Detroit gateway or from the Niagara gateway using historic Talbot Trail. Included in this Black heritage-themed package are six Underground Railroad sites, an “Erie Soul” themed dinner and many opportunities to connect with this significant part of North American history through the words and memories of those whose ancestors travelled the path to freedom. To arrange a group tour, contact Doug Jackson at Ontario’s Fun Connection by phone 1-877-877-0253 or email at dougj@ontariosfunconnection.com.