NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — If you know New Bedford, then you know the history that encompasses the city. It's one of the many things that put New Bedford on the map.

One of the city's historical highlights is that it was a refuge site for enslaved people during the 1800s. The Nathan and Polly Johnson House on 21 Seventh Street, in particular, was one of those locations.

This year, during AHA! Night, the Nathan and Polly Johnson House will be open to the public to kick off ArtWeek SouthCoast.

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History Behind the Nathan and Polly Johnson House

During the 1800's, Nathan Johnson operated a store and was one of New Bedford's leading confectioners. His wife Mary, also known as "Polly," was a well-known caterer.

They both sought to eradicate slavery by providing shelter in their home for many enslaved families who came to New Bedford seeking freedom.

In September of 1838, this specific house gave Frederick Douglass and his wife Anna freedom, a chance at a new life and a new name after they escaped from Maryland.

READ MORE: New Bedford's Frederick Douglass Way Gets Corrected Street Sign

Although we don't know for sure, it is very likely that other fugitives were harbored in this house as well.

Today, the house has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

On May 9, it will be opened to the public for free tours, allowing you to step into its history. Tours will be provided from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Visit the website to learn more about this and other guided tours happening as part of AHA! Night: Preservation. Celebration.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

It's a big piece of New Bedford history is on showcase right downtown at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Gallery Credit: New Bedford Whaling Museum

14 Unique Museums in Massachusetts You May Not Know About

When you think of a museum, what do you think of? Maybe you imagine walls full of art or a giant T-rex skeleton at the entrance. But here in Massachusetts, we do museums a little different. While we do have your typical museums, we are also home to quite a few unique and sometimes a little off-the-wall museums that challenge the way we think about art, science, and what we hold dear. Take a look at 14 of the most unique – and treasured – museums in Massachusetts, and let us know which one you want to visit first!

Gallery Credit: Kari Jakobsen

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