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Upcoming Interpreters-in-Residence

Join these costumed living history interpreters throughout the year at the Museum to explore the work and legacies of the diverse people of the Revolutionary era through hands-on demonstrations, storytelling, and conversations.

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Daniel Sieh

May 18, 25-26, 2024

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, visitors will meet living historian Daniel Sieh, who helped explore the lives of Asians in the United States in the 18th century. Through documents, activities, and objects, Daniel will unpack how global trade connected the lives of Asian sailors, soldiers, traders, and enslaved people as they navigated American society as strangers from a distant land.

Historical interpreter Sydney Marenburg dressed in a white 18th century dress and standing in front of a red fence with green vines.
 

Sydney Marenburg

June 5-9 & June 12-16, 2024

Sydney Marenburg is an economic historian with an interest in the intersections of class, gender, and race in the United States. Sydney has conducted original research into industrial soap production in the 18th century, as well as the position of servants and immigrants to the American colonies. Having worked with institutions such as Colonial Williamsburg, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and the United States National Archive, Sydney is excited to get to work with the Museum again and engage with visitors. 

Costumed living history interpreter Joel Anderson kneels to the right of the image wearing a blue and gold commander in chief's guard jacket and blacket and fur lined hat while talking to a young visitor at Morristown National Historical Park.
 

Joel Anderson

June 19-23, July 7-8, & 12-16, 2024

Joel Anderson is a public historian focusing on the Southern experience during the American Revolution. Joel’s specific interests include military-industrial history, historical trade work, logistics, military horsemanship, and the material culture of the common soldier. Joel works as part of the Museum’s First Oval Office Project and has previously worked for institutions including Colonial Williamsburg, Fort Ticonderoga, Middleton Place, and Walnut Grove Plantation. Joel’s residency with the Museum will highlight the experiences of multiple Revolutionary and Loyalist soldiers during the pivotal years of the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign. The varied perspectives, whether from saber-wielding dragoons atop the back of galloping horses, infantrymen endlessly trudging with muskets through sweltering heat, half-frozen mud, and rain-swollen rivers, or militiamen skulking the Appalachian piedmont in search of vengeance and honor, provide a unique opportunity for us to consider the meanings of the American Revolution and take action today, as a result. 

Living History Youth Summer Institute

The Museum's six-week intensive course for young adults interested in interpreting the lives of people of African ancestry in the Revolutionary era.

Living History Youth Summer Institute Closing Ceremony honored five students for completing the six-week course.

Living History Youth Summer Institute

The Museum's Living History Youth Summer Institute is a six-week intensive course for young adults interested in interpreting the lives of people of African ancestry in the Revolutionary era and involves guest speakers, research projects, and field study. It prepares participants to explore careers in cultural heritage, museum, and theater fields.

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Past Interpreters-in-Residence

Learn more about the costumed living history interpreters who have previously joined the Museum for Meet the Revolution.

Clare McCabe discusses the Davenport baby booties at the Conference on Collecting the American Revolution while standing at a podium with the Museum logo on the front.
 

Clare McCabe

Clare McCabe is a PhD candidate in Temple University's history department. Her research interests include Early American health and healing, gender and women's history, and Philadelphia history. She also previously worked as a museum educator at the Museum of the American Revolution, where she loved connecting with guests over history. Clare discussed the role of women and camp followers during the Revolution.

Costumed living historian Leslie Bramlett sitting in a chair at left of the image wearing 18th century pink and white dress talking to a young visitor at a museum discovery cart with replica objects.
 

Leslie Bramlett

Historian Leslie Bramlett interpreted the remarkable life of Hannah Archer Till — an enslaved woman of African descent who was leased by her slaveholder to cook for General George Washington from 1777-1778 during his time at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and who then continued to work as a free servant in his headquarters throughout the war. Bramlett vividly illustrated Till’s story by highlighting the stark differences between cooking for Washington and his staff versus the meals prepared for common soldiers. Bramlett also delved into the work, responsibilities, and tools used by other camp followers during the period.

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Hannah Wallace

Interpreter Hannah Wallace has explored the various roles and responsibilities that women of African descent had to face during the Revolutionary era and has unpacked the lives of three generations of women from the Forten family, including Charlotte Vandine Forten. Through documents, handling objects, and graphics, Wallace shared stories that connect Charlotte, her daughters Margaretta, Sarah, Louisa, and Harriet, and her granddaughter Charlotte L. Forten, who travelled to South Carolina during the Civil War to teach recently freed people.

Costumed living historian Hayden Conley wears a beige hunting shirt and black cap while showing part of a musket to a young visitor inside the Museum's rotunda.
 

Hayden Conley

Costumed living history interpreter Hayden Conley joined the Museum throughout Summer 2023 to talk about everyday life of common soldiers in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

Daryian Kelton portrays a soldier of African descent as part of the Museum's Meet The Revolution program.
 

Daryian Kelton

Daryian Kelton presented the story of Polydore Redman, a man of African descent who went on to become a drummer in the 5th Pennsylvania (Continental) Battalion. Redman's story begins at the dawn of the American Revolution in 1775 when the war was still new and many Americans were advocating for a broad definition of liberty. Kelton shared Redman's pursuit of liberty and how it differed from those he served alongside as the war proceeded.

Jordan and Kehala Smith dressed in traditional Native American clothing at the Museum over Indigenous Peoples Weekend.
 

Jordan & Kehala Smith

Living history interpreters Kehala Smith (Tuscarora Nation, Turtle Clan) and Jordan Smith (Mohawk, Bear Clan), who shared stories about their culture, costuming, and traditions and engaged guests in conversation about the past, present, and future of their people over Indigenous Peoples Weekend in 2022 and 2023. They also demonstrated and display culturally meaningful objects and materials, including woven baskets, slippery elm bark, and wampum belts.

Meet The Revolution Kalela Williams
 

Kalela Williams

Ever wonder what life was like in an 18th-century schoolroom? Kalela Williams joined us to discuss the work of Elenore “Helena” Harris, an African American schoolteacher in Revolutionary Philadelphia. Harris had the unique perspective of having taught white children in both England and Philadelphia. With a focus on the children of the Revolution, Williams gave insight into how young people worked and played during times of war and peace. Williams also discussed the work of writer and poet Phillis Wheatley and her lasting impact.  

Noah Lewis portrays Ned Hector and teaches a young guest how to fire a cannon as part of our Meet The Revolution series.
 

Noah Lewis

In Summer 2021, Noah Lewis portrayed a Revolutionary soldier of African descent, Edward “Ned” Hector. Museum guests met Hector in the 1820s as a respected resident of Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania, as he fought to gain a pension for service in the war. Lewis also discussed the skills and innovations of African American teamsters as well as everyday life in the 18th and early 19th centuries. 

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Brenda Parker

In Summer 2021, historical interpreter Brenda Parker explored the skills and innovations of both free and enslaved women of African descent. Through the exploration of various textiles, Parker discussed block printing, hand-dyeing, mudcloth, and other traditions brought to America from Africa. She also discussed various waxes and soaps as well as soap-making techniques used in the Revolutionary era. 

Cheyney Mcknight interacts with Museum guests as part of 2019 Meet The Revolution programming.
 

Cheyney McKnight

In Summer 2021 and July 2019 at the Museum, Cheyney McKnight, founder of Not Your Momma's History, told stories about Quansheba, a woman of African descent who lived as an enslaved and then free woman on the site of the Museum during the Revolutionary War. She has also discussed African American women’s headwraps and spiritual practices, and she held workshops on African adornments, storytelling, foodways, and medicine. 

Joel Cook talks with guests at the Museum as part of 2019 Meet The Revolution programming.
 

Joel Cook

In May and August 2019 at the Museum, historical interpreter Joel Cook discussed the opportunities that people of African descent had at sea as privateers and in the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War.

Image 102220 Nastassia Parker
 

Nastassia Parker

In June 2019 at the Museum, Nastassia Parker portrayed Ona Judge, an enslaved woman who ran away from George and Martha Washington’s household in Philadelphia. The 20-minute performance is available to watch online.

Watch

Explore More Online

Watch interviews with historical interpreters to learn how they are bringing the voices, viewpoints, and experiences of the diverse people of the Revolutionary era to life with their work.

Noah Lewis portrays Ned Hector as he speaks with guests as part of our Meet The Revolution series.
 

Meet the Revolution: Noah Lewis

Historical interpreter Noah Lewis discusses his portrayal of Edward "Ned" Hector, a free African American man and soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Watch
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Meet the Revolution: Kalela Williams

Historical interpreter Kalela Williams discusses the character she portrays – an African American teacher in Philadelphia in the 1790s.
Watch
Meet The Revolution historical interpreter Daniel Sieh
 

Meet the Revolution: Daniel Sieh

Daniel Sieh discusses his work bringing Asian and Asian American history to the forefront and his ongoing research on the role Asian people played in the American Revolution.
Watch

Signature Living History Events

Learn more about the Museum's annual living history events that bring to life the diverse Revolutionary era.

British soldiers march towards the Museum led by a drummer as part of the Museum's Occupied Philadelphia living history event in 2019.
 

Occupied Philadelphia

Annually in the Fall

In the fall of 1777, Philadelphia — the Revolutionary capital at the time — was seized by the British and occupied for nine long months, with Independence Hall serving as a prison for American prisoners-of-war. Throughout a select fall weekend each year, the Museum explores what life was like in the city while British forces controlled it through guided walking tours, special programming, and family-friendly activities. Each year, you can meet dozens of costumed historical interpreters portraying soldiers, civilians, and spies on the Museum’s outdoor plaza and additional locations in our Old City neighborhood.

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Makers of Revolutionary Philadelphia

Annually in the Spring

For one day each spring, costumed historical tradespeople take over the Museum to do hands-on crafts and activities, perform demonstrations of 18th-century skills and trades, and introduce guests to the people who made the Revolution in 1770s Philadelphia. Throughout the Museum, other interpreters demonstrate the work of contractors and soldiers in Benjamin Flower's Regiment of Artillery Artificers as they roll cartridges, mend uniforms, feed the army, and more.

The Meet the Revolution Interpreters-in-Residence Program and the Living History Youth Summer Institute are part of the Museum’s African American Interpretive Program Sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal.

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Three students from the Museum's Living History Youth Summer Institute pose for a photo in from the Museum's recreated George Washington's tent in Clark Park.
 

Living History Youth Summer Institute

The Museum offers a six-week intensive summer course for young adults interested in interpreting the lives of people of African ancestry in the Revolutionary era.
Read More
Actor Nathan Alford-Tate depicts a sailor in a blue coat holding a sailmaking fid in our Meet James Forten first-person theatrical performance.
 

First-Person Theatrical Performances

The Museum's original first-person theatrical performances bring to life the diverse lives, perspectives, and experiences of people from the Revolutionary era.
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Living History Demonstrations

Dive deeper into Revolutionary era living history with Artisan Field Trips, Meet the Revolution interviews, cooking demos, and more.
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