Rare documents and artifacts documenting the institution of slavery in the United States will be on display for only a short time at the Cabot School District Museum of American History, museum director Mike Polston announced.

Polston said these items document a dark and controversial time in American history, but still a time that is vitally important to be remembered and studied.

In the press release, Polston notes that slavery, which was introduced into the American colonies in the 17th century, was a major moral and political issue in the United States until its abolition in 1865 by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The documents, property inventories of plantations in South Carolina and Virginia, are rarely displayed because of their delicate nature, Polston said.

The South Carolina document gives a detailed description of each enslaved person and their estimated market value.

Stephan is described as being a mulatto boy; age about 33, a carpenter; his wife, Sally, also a mulatto, was about 28. Their combined assessed value was $1800.

Peter, described as a man about 40, was valued at $700.

There are several other descriptions in the document. An 1814 Virginia document gives similar descriptions.

The display also includes a number of original newspaper ads offering slaves for sale or offering rewards for runaway slaves.

Among the displayed objects is a brick used in the construction of the Chester Ashley mansion in Little Rock. The brick was handmade by slave labor.

There is also a hoe used in the cultivation of the fields of a South Carolina plantation. Perhaps the most interesting object is a small brass bracelet called a "manilla." European slave traders used such bracelets to trade for slaves resulting in them being known as "slave trade money."

The museum is open to the public every Friday and Saturday, except holidays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Group tours can be scheduled by calling 501-743-3577.

The museum was established in 1981, and holds a growing collection of more than 5,000 artifacts chronicling local, county and U.S. history.

Admission is free. Regular operating expenses are met through a donations-only fund through the school district.

The Cabot Advertising and Promotion Commission provides funds for regular, public hours of operation.