Winter Break 2023 at the MuseumDecember 23-31, 2023
Throughout Winter Break at the Museum, join us to explore life during the winter months of the American Revolution through live 18th-century music, first-person theatrical performances, wintery scenes in Revolution Place, hands-on discovery carts, engaging in-gallery talks, and more for the whole family. Plus, we will be collecting new or gently used toys to donate to HomeFront Holiday Wishes.
Baroque Folk with Robert Mouland
Onsite (Rotunda) | Dec. 26-30, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Multi-instrumentalist Robert Mouland will join the Museum to perform 18th-century baroque folk music on antique instruments, including a baroque violin, baroque flute, English guitar, and flageolet.
HomeFront Holiday Wishes Toy Drive
Onsite (Rotunda) | Daily
This holiday season, help spread cheer to children in need by donating to our HomeFront Holiday Wishes toy drive. Visitors can contribute new or gently used toys to the donation bin in the Museum’s rotunda – no wrapping required. HomeFront’s mission is to help families break the cycle of poverty by harnessing the care, resources, and expertise of our communities.
First-Person Performances: Meet Elder James Forten & Meet Elizabeth Freeman
Onsite (Alan B. Miller Theater) | Forten: Dec. 26, 28 & 30 at 1:15 & 3:15 p.m. | Freeman: Dec. 27 & 29 at 1:15 & 3:15 p.m.
Meet Elder James Forten is set in 1838 as a 72-year-old James Forten speaks with his friend Daniel Brewton about the nearby ruins of Pennsylvania Hall. The 20-minute performance of Meet Elder James Forten stars Steve Crum and is best enjoyed by guests ages 9 and up. Meet Elizabeth Freeman, which portrays the life and experiences of Elizabeth Freeman, a Massachusetts woman who sued for her freedom from enslavement and won, stars Katelyn Appiah-Kubi in the 20-minute performance.
Onsite (lower level) | Daily, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Explore the Museum’s family-friendly discovery center, Revolution Place, which will transform into the winter of 1778! Walk through a scene of frost-covered windows, logs piled by the fire, and 18th-century coats and cloaks as you learn about what Philadelphia would have been like in the snowy winter months and how they celebrated the winter holidays.
Discovery Cart: Peale's Philadelphia
Onsite | Daily, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Join a Museum educator at a discovery cart to learn more about artist and soldier Charles Willson Peale's time in Revolutionary Philadelphia with handling objects and reproduction documents and artifacts. In December 1776, Peale canvassed the neighborhood around the Museum to muster support for the Revolutionary cause before he and his militiamen, the Philadelphia Associators, marched off to confront the British in New Jersey, where they would serve alongside Alexander Hamilton’s artillery company.
In-Gallery Talk: Winter Scenes of the Revolution
Onsite | Daily
Join a Museum educator for a 20-minute, in-gallery talk at two wintery tableau scenes in the core galleries. The first scene depicts a brawl in Harvard Yard where Continental soldiers from different regions fought each other in camp. As an older man writing his pension application, Israel Trask, who was 11 years old at the time, recalled watching George Washington leap into a fight between American soldiers, pull the men apart, and restore order in his camp. The second scene depicts Charles Willson Peale reuniting with his unrecognizably ragged brother James on the banks of the Delaware on Dec. 8, 1776, after James had served as an officer under Washington through the long New York campaign.
In-Gallery Talk: Children’s Toys
Onsite | Daily
Join a Museum educator for a 10-minute in-gallery talk about children’s toys, on loan to the Museum from the New-York Historical Society, that were excavated from British Revolutionary War campsites around New York City. The toys, which include a miniature lamb, goose, broom, and platter, are reminders that the children of British soldiers accompanied the army and camp followers in America.
Onsite & Online
It’s the season of giving! Let us help you find the perfect last-minute gift for your friends and family this holiday season. From gift memberships to unique gift options for all ages in the Museum Shop, the Museum has the perfect selection of meaningful gifts for the history buffs in your life.
Winter Garments Talk & Sewing Demo
Onsite | Dec. 29, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Join Manager of Gallery Interpretation Meg Bowersox to learn more about the garments worn during the cold winter months of the American Revolution and watch as she sews a quilted petticoat.
Now on View: The Story of Washington's Prayer at Valley Forge
Onsite (Oneida Nation Atrium) & Online | Daily
The story of General George Washington praying at Valley Forge was first presented in Mason Locke Weems’ 1808 biography on Washington, The Life of George Washington, and gained popularity throughout the 1800s, partly due to the Great Awakening, which revived religious fervor, and partly due to the growing tension over slavery. Some claimed the image of Washington at prayer for national unity. Others used the image to promote the United States’ righteousness as it expanded its states and territories. In a display at the Museum in the second-floor atrium thanks to the Color Guard of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution, view artifacts reflecting the evolution of the meaning of the story of Washington's prayer "on bended knee" at Valley Forge.
Event details and programming are subject to change at any time.