Artisan Workshop Series

Did you ever wonder how people in the past got dressed every day? How did they live without zippers or Velcro? Where did they buy their shoes? How did they keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter?

Learn the fundamentals of 18th-century dress and what it reveals about the Revolution in our hands-on workshops. Spend the day learning traditional skills and working with your hands, beginning with a close look at objects in the Museum’s Galleries as inspiration for your own creations. Then, try your hand at creating your own replica to take home. Learn tricks of the 18th-century trades and meet others while discovering new talents in making and doing.

Artisan Workshops are taught by the Museum’s knowledgeable team of educators and makers, who have years of experience studying and recreating historical objects. We have workshops for everyone that are suitable for both seasoned makers and new artisans. Children and families are welcome. All materials are provided.

Historic Sewing 102: Make a Pair of Mitts or Mittens
Thursday, December 27, 2018, 1-5 pm

How did Alexander Hamilton keep warm during the bitter winter campaign of December 1776? What did Angelica Schuyler Church wear during winters in upstate New York? Make a pair of men’s mittens or women’s mitts to wear during your own Hamiltonian winter! All materials are provided and no prior sewing experience is required for this workshop suitable for adults and families with children ages 10 and up.

Historic Sewing 101: Make a Heart Pincushion
February 16, 2019, 1-3 pm

In love with Hamilton? In this workshop, participants can make a copy of the fashionable heart-shaped pincushion that many women wore tied to their waist in the eighteenth century. No prior sewing experience is required in this drop-in workshop suitable for adults and families with children ages 6 and up. This workshop is free with Museum admission.

Historic Sewing 201: Make Baby Booties
March 9, 2019, 1-5 pm

As the Revolutionary War ended, a new generation of Americans (including Philip Hamilton) was born. Their parents beat swords into plowshares. One remarkable example of this practice is a pair of baby booties owned by the Museum of the American Revolution. According to the family of James Davenport, a Revolutionary veteran, his wife used the wool of a captured British red coat. In this workshop, participants will hand-sew copies of the Davenport baby booties to take home to their own young Revolutionaries. Prior sewing experience is suggested but not required in this workshop suitable for adults.

Needlework 101: Monogram a Kerchief
May 12, 2019, 1-3 pm

In this brief introductory workshop, drop in to learn why people like Elizabeth Schuyler monogrammed their shirts, sheets, and kerchiefs with tiny red initials. Participants will learn the basics of monogramming using historical lettering by monogramming a linen kerchief. No prior sewing experience is required in this workshop suitable for adults and families with children ages 10 and up.

Leatherwork 101: Make a Shot Pouch
June 23, 2019, 10-5 pm

Colonial hunters and Revolutionary soldiers used small leather bags, called “shot pouches,” to carry musket balls and other materials. In this beginner workshop, participants will learn the basics of cutting and sewing leather and leave with their own shot pouch. No prior experience is required in this workshop suitable for adults and families with children ages 10 and up. Cost includes a boxed lunch.

Historic Sewing 102: Make a Woman’s or Man’s Apron
August 18, 2019, 10am-5pm

Men and women wore aprons at work and around the house in the eighteenth century. What sort of apron wore told people what sort of work you did (or if you didn’t do much work at all). In this workshop, participants will make a gathered linen woman’s apron or a buttoned-on man’s apron. No prior sewing experience is required in this workshop suitable for adults and families with children ages 10 and up. Cost includes a boxed lunch.