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The Museum of the American Revolution works to uncover and share compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Many of these stories are explored in the Museum’s core galleries, through immersive environments, life-like tableaux, object displays, and short films. Some stories, however, are so rich that to fully explore them, the Museum has created digital interactives within the galleries in order to dig deeper and more fully expand upon them.

Season of Independence is one such story. Museum guests encounter this interactive feature as they explore exhibits asking the question “How do people become Revolutionaries?” and just before encountering one of many printings of the Continental Congress’ Declaration of Independence. How common was support for independence across the colonies? How did it grow in the dynamic months between January and July of 1776? And what did people believe independence might mean for themselves, their fellow Americans, and the British Empire?

Using a map and timeline as its base, Season of Independence tracks the spread of support for American independence from the British Empire across both space and time, while placing the 13 colonies in rebellion in a broader geographical context. By clicking on declaration “hotspots” explorers can learn how various social and political groups and organizations formally expressed their support for independence. By selecting individual men and women’s faces, explorers can learn about the diverse perspectives of people from varying backgrounds, regions, and life experiences as they contemplate the significance and repercussions of independence. Additional resources provide context for teachers, students, and other learners.

We are grateful for the work of the late Pauline Maier, whose book American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (New York; Vintage, 1999), was foundational to our understanding of this time. We are also grateful to the following individuals for their critical contributions to this resource.

Artwork and Technical Assistance

We would like to thank the staff of Wood Ronsaville Harlan, Inc. - Matthew Frey, Greg Harlin, Pamela Ronsaville, Rob Wood – for bringing the people of Season of Independence to life through their artwork. We also express our gratitude to the staff of Blue Cadet for creating the in-Museum version of this digital interactive, and to the staff of AREA 17 for translating and enhancing this work for the internet.

Season of Independence Teachers

We would like to thank the participants in our August 2019 Season of Independence Summer Teacher Institute, the members of our Finding Freedom National Teacher Advisory Group, the member of our local Teacher Advisory Group, and the participants in our 2017 and 2019 formative evaluations for your contributions to the shaping of this resource. Your input and feedback have been invaluable.

Teacher Institute Participants:
Mary Bonavita, Alicia Booker, Meghan Burns, Lindsey Charron, Alexandra Del Rosso, Ellsworth Fersch, Patricia Garza, Keri Giannotti, David Klippel, Sandra Lopez, Kristle Morris, Sheila Pamplin, Jolene Pennington, Shira Simon, Heather Sobek, Priscilla Taylor, Vanessa Walters, Alex Waters, Rhonda Watton

Teacher Advisory Groups:
Mary Bonavita, Alicia Booker, Barbara Brunner, William Eichler, Melvin Garrison, Laura Hoyler, William Kenney, Maura Lincoln, Therese Lowrie, Thomas McGuire, Yaasiyn Muhammad, Kristle Morris, Nancy Paley, Michele Schaefer, Harrow Strickland, Rhonda Watton, Terry Anne Wildman, Todd Wonderlin

Season of Independence Scholars

In addition to the work of Pauline Maier, we are grateful to the following scholars and educators for their assistance in putting Season of Independence into context, particularly during our August 2019 Summer Teacher Institute.

Mike Adams, Renee Albertoli, Eli Gilman, Elizabeth Grant, Beth Twiss Houting, Stuart Leibiger, Michael Madeja

Season of Independence is made possible with generous support from Ira D. and Diana Riklis.

Season of Independence Interactive: Explore the spread of support for American independence from January to July of 1776, and encounter the perspectives of real men and women on all sides of the debate.

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