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Free Fifes for Kids and Other Giveaways, Lessons and Demos, and a Jam Session

Visitors Can Enjoy Cake to Celebrate the Anniversary of the Acquisition of Washington’s War Tent 

PHILADELPHIA, AUGUST 1, 2017 — While rifles, muskets, and swords probably come to mind when you think of the Revolutionary War, fifes and drums also were essential to the war effort for communicating commands and boosting morale.

Fife and drum players in a line

On Saturday, August 19 from Noon – 3 p.m., the Museum of the American Revolution will host a Fife and Drum Party on the Museum’s outdoor plaza to celebrate the musicians of the Continental Army who helped the United States win its independence. The event is free and open to the public. (Rain plan: the party will be moved into the Museum’s first-floor Patriot Gallery and will still be free to the public.)

The party will include free toy fifes for the first 100 guests and other giveaways, 15-minute fife and drum demonstrations and lessons, replica instruments that visitors can handle, and the opportunity for fifers and drummers of all skill levels to jam and win a prize. Museum staff members will perform popular tunes, such as “Yankee Doodle” and “The Liberty Song,” and military signal calls from the Revolutionary War in reproductions of Continental Army uniforms at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 p.m.

Flute player

“It may come as a surprise, but fifers and drummers played a vital role for the armies that fought in the Revolutionary War,” said Matthew Skic, Assistant Curator at the Museum. “These military musicians played loud drums and shrill fifes (small wooden flutes) to communicate officers’ orders over long distances and to large groups of soldiers. The specific tunes they played regulated daily life in military encampments and conveyed commands to troops in battle.”

At 2 p.m., visitors can enjoy a tent-shaped cake celebrating the birthday of the Museum’s collection of more than 3,000 Revolutionary-era artifacts. On August 19, 1909, Valley Forge minister Rev. Herbert Burk first acquired Washington’s War Tent, the crown jewel of the Museum’s collection, from descendants of Martha Washington. Inside the Museum, guests can discover more about how and where the tent was pitched and create their own miniature tent to take home.

About the Museum of the American Revolution

The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, Carpenters’ Hall, and Franklin Court, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit or call 877.740.1776.