Since opening in 2017, the Museum has hosted a number of must-see special exhibitions and displays developed by the Museum’s in-house curatorial team or by guest curators.
Feature Special Exhibitions
Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Solider
September 28, 2019 through March 17, 2020
What can a life tell us about an era? Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier followed the untold story of Irish soldier and artist Richard St. George, whose personal trauma and untimely death provide a window into the entangled histories of the American Revolution of 1776 and the Irish Revolution of 1798. The art he created and commissioned provides a unique perspective of the physical and emotional costs of these revolutionary moments.
Richard St. George joined the British Army and donned a red coat to fight against the American “rebels” in 1776. Over the next twenty years, St. George survived a severe head wound at the Battle of Germantown, mourned over the tragic death of his wife, and saw the rule of kings and of gentlemen like himself violently challenged on two continents. Along the way, he made sketches, published cartoons, and commissioned portraits and paintings to document his experiences and emotions. In 1798, he stood in opposition to the growing Irish Revolution and was killed by his tenants.
As a result of detective work by the Museum’s curators, the art and artifacts from St. George’s life and death were reunited in Philadelphia from Ireland, England, Australia, and the United States to tell the story.
Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia
October 27, 2018 through March 17, 2019
Journey through Hamilton’s Philadelphia in Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia. The hands-on exhibit revealed connections between our own city and Alexander Hamilton’s extraordinary contributions to the nation’s founding.
Through playful interactives, scenic environments, and facilitated games, visitors actively engaged in the challenges of founding and maintaining a country and were inspired to carry these lessons forward as they face the challenges of citizenship today. Hamilton Was Here was part of the "Year of Hamilton" that explored the surprising connections between Philadelphia and Hamilton’s extraordinary contributions to the nation’s founding through lectures, evening programs, and family-friendly activities.
Among His Troops: Washington's War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor
January 13 through February 19, 2018
Among His Troops: Washington’s War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor brought together works of art, weapons, and other artifacts from the Revolutionary War to explore the history surrounding this rare eyewitness painting of the Continental Army, which was discovered by the Museum’s curators.
The Museum presented a newly discovered 235-year-old, seven-foot panoramic painting that offers an invaluable glimpse into the Revolutionary War, a time before the invention of photography. The sweeping watercolor painting of a 1782 Continental Army encampment contains the only known wartime depiction of General Washington’s headquarters tent, which is dramatically presented at the Museum. The painting depicts hundreds of military tents arrayed across the rolling landscape of the lower Hudson Valley. Perched on a hilltop rising above the scene is Washington’s field headquarters, including the marquee tent in which he lived during the Revolutionary War.
A New Constellation: A Collection of Historic 13-Star Flags
Flag Day, Friday, June 14 through Sunday, July 21, 2019
Beginning Flag Day 2019, 40 rare historic flags went on display at the Museum of the American Revolution, marking the first time that this collection had ever been displayed together. The flags featured 32 different arrangements of 13 stars, representing the 13 colonies that declared independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. The 13-star flag became the official flag of the new nation on June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act. In an adjacent activity space, visitors of all ages could try on Revolutionary-inspired clothing, handle replica objects, and participate in activities like designing their own flag.
George Washington’s Headquarters Flag
June 14, 2018 through June 17, 2018
The Museum of the American Revolution brought out of its archives the faded and fragile blue silk flag – known as the Commander-in-Chief’s Standard – that marked General George Washington’s presence on the battlefield during the Revolutionary War. This marked the flag’s first public display in Philadelphia since the war itself and its first appearance in Pennsylvania in decades. The rare flag measures approximately two feet by three feet and features 13 white, six-pointed stars representing the 13 colonies on a blue field. It is believed to be the earliest surviving 13-star American flag. Due to deterioration that results from light exposure, the flag can only be displayed on special occasions.
Diamond Eagle of the Society of the Cincinnati
Dec. 6, 2017 through March 4, 2018
The Diamond Eagle — an exquisite jewel-encrusted medal owned and worn by George Washington — was displayed in Philadelphia for the first time since it was presented to Washington in this city 233 years ago. The Diamond Eagle is the badge of office of the president general of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization founded by officers of the Continental Army at the end of the Revolutionary War to preserve the memory of the American Revolution for all time. Members of the Society wear a gold Eagle insignia. The officers of the French Navy commissioned the Diamond Eagle — fashioned in gold and silver and embedded with nearly 200 diamonds, emeralds, and rubies — as a special tribute to Washington. It was on view at the Museum of the American Revolution from Dec. 6, 2017 through March 4, 2018, marking only the fourth time it has been publicly displayed in the United States.