Juneteenth Weekend 2023 at the MuseumJune 17-19, 2023
Explore the continuing struggle for equality for all and join the Museum to celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. The date commemorates the day in 1865 when the abolition of slavery reached the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Texas.
Special Exhibit: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
Onsite (Patriots Gallery) | Daily, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
In the Museum’s newest special exhibition, explore the life and legacy of free Black Philadelphian, Revolutionary War privateer, and successful businessman James Forten and his descendants as they navigated the American Revolution and cross-racial relationships in Philadelphia to become leaders in the abolition movement in the lead-up to the Civil War and the women's suffrage movement.
Gallery Highlights Tour: Black Voices of the Revolution
Onsite | Saturday & Sunday at noon
Additional Ticket Required for Tours
Join a Museum educator for this 60-minute tour of the core exhibit galleries highlighting a diverse set of stories, experiences, and objects related to people of African descent during the American Revolution. Along the way, you’ll see a first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, learn about Elizabeth Freeman’s historic court case, consider what the engraving “No Slavery” on a Continental Army soldier’s musket meant, and discuss William Lee's role on campaign as Washington's enslaved valet.
Onsite (lower level) | Daily, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Museum’s family-friendly discovery center, Revolution Place, will be open daily to explore the Museum’s lively, diverse Old City neighborhood during the 1700s through hands-on exploration in four key recreated historical environments, including a military encampment, a tavern, a home, and an 18th-century meeting house. Don’t miss themed crafts and activities, including making your own cap inspired by those worn by the Rhode Island Regiment, which consisted primarily of Black and Native American troops.
Documentary Premiere: "Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia"
TV: WHYY | Monday, June 19, 7:30 p.m. & 11 p.m.
The new 26-minute film “Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia," presented by WHYY and the Museum of the American Revolution, explores the story of one of Philadelphia’s most influential early African American families. The film is inspired by the Museum’s Black Founders special exhibition. Tickets are available to attend a special screening event, including a reception and question-and-answer session, will take place at the Museum on Friday evening, June 16.
"Meet James Forten" First-Person Theatrical Performances
Onsite (Alan B. Miller Theater) | Saturday, June 17
Young Forten at 1:15 p.m. | Elder Forten at 3:15 p.m.
Our Meet James Forten performances, written by playwright Marissa Kennedy, explore the life and legacy of James Forten, a free Black Philadelphian, Revolutionary War privateer, successful businessman, and stalwart abolitionist. See a perfomance by Nathan Alford-Tate portraying Forten as a teenager during the American Revolution, followed by a performance by Steve Crum portraying a reflective Forten later in life.
Discovery Cart: Harry Washington
Onsite | Daily
Explore replica objects related to the life of Harry Washington, who was enslaved by the Washingtons and found freedom through service in the British army thanks to the Dunmore Proclamation.
In-Gallery Talk: Phillis Wheatley
Onsite | Daily
Join a Museum educator at an original, signed copy of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, written by Phillis Wheatley, the first published Black female poet to learn more about Wheatley’s life and the lasting legacy of her poetry.
Finding Freedom Gallery Guide
Onsite | Daily
For people of African descent in Revolutionary-era America, the Revolution offered promise and peril. Some chose the cause of independence and others sided with the British. Many used the ideological and social tumult of the Revolution to pursue freedom and justice. However, most people of African descent would not enjoy the most revolutionary legacies of this period – personal liberty, citizenship, the right to vote, and social equality — for generations. Use our Finding Freedom gallery guide to follow the stories of several people of African descent throughout our galleries.
Event details and programming are subject to change at any time.