Molly Morgan

WEBSITE(S)| Research Spotlight

SURF Mentoring

Potential projects/topics: Through my work in archaeology and cultural heritage, I have recently come across two datasets pertaining to the history of plantations and enslavement in Brazoria County, TX, the largest sugar producing region in 19th century Texas. The first is a collection of firsthand observations, archival research, and land-owner testimonies about some of the largest plantations in the county and the ruins of plantation buildings still present on the properties. It was collected and shared with me through the Brazosport Archaeological Society. The second is a collection of notes recorded in the 1920s from interviews with formerly enslaved individuals, as part of a study by a historian at Prairie View A&M. These records were recently digitized and made available online. The Brazosport Archaeological Society would like to see their plantation records summarized and made accessible to the public. By using the slave narratives to center the voices of the enslaved, the hope is that we can connect their stories with histories and descriptions of the plantations where they lived and labored under enslavement. The results of this work will take the form of digital humanities projects created through ArchGIS as part of a larger historical mapping project and StoryMap exhibits posted online. To accomplish the many goals of this project, several tasks need to be conducted. The plantation records need to be georeferenced and added to the GIS project. Archival images of plantations must be identified, possibly digitized, and uploaded into the GIS project. The interviews of formerly enslaved individuals need to be studied and collated with plantation locations, then prepared for public history presentation. Finally, when information on a plantation is collected and ready, public history presentation will take place and students will be involved in creating presentations and exhibits. Students interested in participating in this research through SURF are invited to participate in work on any of these parts of the research project that seem interesting or useful to them. There is high potential for this work to continue following the 2023 SURF program. For more information or examples of projects created by past students, please contact Dr. Molly Morgan at

Potential skills gained: Use of ArchGIS through the Spatial Studies Lab and Digital Humanities, Creation of Public History exhibits through StoryMap or other similar outlets, Engagement with Cultural Heritage site managers on 19th century Texas plantations, Experience documenting Archival Records and Images, Familiarity with Archaeological Documentation and Recording

Required qualifications: There are no required courses or skills! This is a great learning experience for students at any level. We’re here to provide you with all the training and guidance you would need. Students already skilled in these areas will have the chance to dig deeper through an engaged project in digital humanities.

Direct mentor: Faculty/P.I.

Research Areas

Molly Morgan is an archaeologist investigating the lives of enslaved people who lived and worked at regional plantations including Levi Jordan and Varner-Hogg in order to examine the historical context and legacies of slavery and how it is presented in public history. This work involves public archaeology through engagement with communities and local groups in Texas. She also works toward public history interpretations along with colleagues at the Texas Historical Commission, which manages these historic sites. This work offers experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students in all parts of the process of archaeological research.