The enduring importance of the American Revolution is demonstrated by the rich array of materials from the Revolution on display in changing exhibitions at museums, libraries and other cultural institutions across the country. Seek them out.
Smithsonian National Postal Museum – Washington, D.C.
May 25, 2018 – March 3, 2019
In the two hundred and fifteen years since his untimely death in a duel with the vice president at age forty-nine, Alexander Hamilton has become an American icon. Stamps, money, movies, television miniseries, and now a Broadway musical commemorate his meteoric rise and his sweeping vision for America’s future, aspects of which are still with us today. Explore the extraordinary life of Alexander Hamilton through original mail sent and signed by him in his role as first secretary of the treasury, portraits of him and his contemporaries on postage and revenue stamps, and other artifacts.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History – Washington, D.C.
June 26, 2018 – July 9, 2019
The American Revolution: A World War examines the story of the nation’s founding from a global perspective, beginning with the roots of the Revolution in the Seven Years’ War, when a complex interplay of global interests and actions existed between Britain, France, Spain and Holland. The exhibition centers on the Siege of Yorktown, showing how the American victory there depended on support from allied nations. The final section of the show explores how relations between the United States and European nations evolved between the Revolution and 1824, when the marquis de Lafayette made a triumphal return to the United States to see how democracy was flourishing in the new country.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Va.
Ongoing through June 21, 2019
During the British invasion of Virginia in 1781, Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe led the Queen’s Rangers, a light cavalry unit of Americans loyal to the Crown, in engagements near Williamsburg and Yorktown. This exhibition explores Simcoe’s activities in the state through rare materials from the library’s collections, including manuscript maps of the battles, the marquis de Lafayette’s account of the action at Spencer’s Ordinary, watercolor drawings of soldiers in the Queen’s Rangers, and other documents and artifacts.
Fort Pitt Museum – Pittsburgh, Pa.
Ongoing since July 1, 2017
Few objects from colonial America had such a personal connection to their owners as the powder horns used by soldiers, settlers and American Indians to store the gunpowder necessary for their survival. The smooth surface of the horn was also an ideal place for owners and artists to leave their mark, etching names, dates, maps and war records, as well as purely whimsical figures, into the objects. The carved powder horns in this exhibition illuminate the landscapes, wars and politics of early America and particularly its frontier residents.
Museum of the American Revolution – Philadelphia, Pa.
October 27, 2018 – March 17, 2019
This interactive experience reveals connections between Alexander Hamilton’s extraordinary contributions to the nation’s founding and the city of Philadelphia. Through playful interactives, scenic environments and facilitated games, visitors will explore different aspects of Hamilton’s political rise in the Philadelphia region, including his roles as an artillery officer in Washington’s army as it tried to defend the city from the British during the Revolutionary War; a political leader who helped create the United States Constitution; an advisor to President Washington when Philadelphia served as the national capital; and the first secretary of the treasury who envisioned the financial future of the nation in his Philadelphia office.