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Image 222 23 Black Founders

Enjoy a Powerful Theatrical Performance, a Pay-What-You-Wish Women’s History Night, and More

Explore the Stories of the Forten Women in the New Special Exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia

Discover the stories of Revolutionary women at the Museum of the American Revolution during Women’s History Month this March. Throughout the month, enjoy a pay-what-you-wish Women’s History Night, a theatrical performance based on the story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, and other events and activities that bring to life the powerful, diverse experiences of women of the Revolutionary era.

Plus, don’t miss the stories of the Forten women in the new special exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, now open daily. The exhibit explores the story of free Black Philadelphian James Forten and his remarkable family, from the Revolutionary era through the Civil War and Reconstruction. James Forten's wife, Charlotte Vandine Forten, was active in supporting abolitionist causes and helped to start the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 with her daughters. Their daughter Margaretta Forten was a leading educator of African American children in Philadelphia and Sarah L. Forten was an accomplished poet.

Artifacts connected to the Forten women in the exhibit include needlework samplers stitched by two of Forten’s daughters; the only surviving photo of Charlotte Vandine Forten; an album belonging to James and Charlotte’s daughter-in-law; a journal written by James and Charlotte’s granddaughter; and sheet music, circa 1836, which sets to music the words of a poem by Sarah L. Forten, “The Grave of a Slave;” among other objects, documents, textiles, and works of art.

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Women’s History Month Highlights Include:

Artisan Workshop: Make a Sampler
Wednesdays, March 8, 15, and 22, from 7 p.m. – 8:30 pm.

Join us for this three-night virtual workshop to learn about early 18th and 19th-century sewing and how to make your own embroidered sampler based on original examples on display in our special exhibit, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia. No prior sewing experience is required. The workshop is led by Gallery Interpretation Manager Meg Bowersox. Tickets are $95 or $75 for Museum Members, and can be purchased here.

AmRev Presents: Black Founders Women’s History Night with Dr. Kerri Greenidge
Friday, March 24, from 5:15 – 8 p.m.

Join Dr. Kerri K. Greenidge, author of The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family and Assistant Professor at Tufts University, on site or online for an evening discussion hosted by Museum Director of Education and Community Engagement Adrienne G. Whaley. Celebrating women’s history and discoveries in genealogical research with a focus on abolitionism, suffrage, and education, learn how women in the three generations of the Forten, Grimke, and Douglass families connect the Revolutionary era to present day. Tickets to this event are pay-as-you-wish and include access to Black Founders and a hands-on stitching activity inspired by the Abolitionist Alphabet. Tickets can be purchased here.

Meet the Revolution: Hannah Wallace
March 12, 18, and 25 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Costumed historical interpreter Hannah Wallace will unpack the lives of three generations of women from the Forten family, including Charlotte Vandine Forten, as part of the Museum's ongoing Meet the Revolution series. Through documents and handling objects, Wallace will share 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.

“Meet Elizabeth Freeman” Theatrical Performance | Saturdays, 1:15 p.m. & 3:15 p.m.
Watch a live, 20-minute, first-person theatrical performance portraying the life and experiences of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, a Massachusetts woman who sued for freedom from enslavement and won. The piece will be performed by Katelyn E. Appiah-Kubi. A filmed version of this performance, starring actor Tiffany Bacon, can be viewed here online any time.

Make a Heart Pin Cushion in Revolution Place | Weekends from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
In the Museum’s family-friendly discovery center, Revolution Place, discover how 18th-century women would make similar pincushions and wear them tied to their waist. Then, grab a take-and-make craft bag to make a heart-shaped pincushion at home. No prior sewing experience is needed. 

Pop-Up Talks, Discovery Carts, and More
In daily gallery pop-up talks, learn about Baroness Von Riedesel, a camp follower who became a prisoner-of-war of the Continental Army and left behind a diary detailing her experiences; in the Museum’s final gallery, join an educator as they discuss the little-known story of women and free people of color legally voting in New Jersey during the Revolutionary era, as well as the series of political conflicts that led to their voting rights being stripped away in 1807; and at a discovery cart, learn about the life of Deborah Sampson, who dressed as a man to fight in the Continental Army.

Digital Resources | Available Online, Any Time
Explore the stories of Revolutionary women from the comfort of home with the Museum’s wide range of digital resources. In our Museum Virtual Tour, learn about women like Deborah Squash, who escaped enslavement at Mount Vernon and sought protection with the British Army; Deborah Sampson, who dressed as a man to fight in the Continental Army; and Phillis Wheatley, America’s first published Black female poet. In the Museum’s virtual exhibit, When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807, explore the incredible story of women and free people of color voting in early America.

The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Black Founders is open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is included with regular Museum admission. Tickets to the Museum can be purchased by calling 215.253.6731, at AmRevMuseum.org, or at the front desk. Save $3 per adult ticket by purchasing online. Kids ages 5 and under are always free. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.