After the debut of "Hamilton" on Broadway, Alexander Hamilton has been hot. And to prove just how scorching our founding father was, 70 eighth graders from the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr Lower Marion township descended upon the Museum of the American Revolution to preview the museum's newest experience: "Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia."
Based on the life of Hamilton, the museum's exhibit features nearly 30 artifacts that highlight the life of the man behind our nation's financial system and his time in Philadelphia. Running through Mar. 17, 2019, new items will continue to pour in to keep the exhibit fresh through its winter showing.
“We wanted to capitalize on that interest the young people have developed in the founding era through 'Hamilton: The Musical,'” said Scott Stevenson, CEO of the Museum of the American Revolution. "As the musical says, in New York you can be a new man. But Philadelphia was the place Alexander Hamilton became the man that he was.”
The exhibition uses playful and scenic environments with interactive components and games to engage visitors in Hamilton's life, which included the challenges of founding and maintaining a new country.
“To all of the hard decisions, all of the teamwork that was necessary, and challenges that he faced as a immigrant here in the city of Philadelphia in the 18th century makes a lot of connections," continued Stevenson. “People -- no matter where they’re from originally -- can draw from the story of Alexander Hamilton in Revolutionary Philadelphia.”
Six key sections highlight Hamilton's political rise in Philadelphia, including his roles as an artillery officer in Washington's army, a political leader who helped create the Constitution, an advisor to our nation's first president, and as the first Secretary of the Treasury. Visitors can dress in reproduction 1790s clothing, load a full-sized replica cannon, and design a coin-inspired by early American symbols, among other activities.
"We strive to tell the other side of each story -- those that are lesser-known and often surprising. This experience is no exception," said Dr. Philip Mead, chief historian and director of curatorial affairs at the museum. "Without Philadelphia, Alexander Hamilton might not have been the Alexander Hamilton we know today - his experiences in the city shaped his vision for the nation."
In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum is launching a "Year of Hamilton" programming, including special events dedicated to exploring Hailton's life and legacy.
The experience is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays from 1 to 5 p.m.