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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.

Intensive Summer Course Introduces Teens to Careers in the Museum Field, with Specific Focus on Interpreting the Lives of People of African Ancestry

Culminating Public Event Will Be Held August 5 at the University of Pennsylvania

This summer marks the return of the Museum of the American Revolution’s Living History Youth Summer Institute, a six-week intensive course for young adults interested in interpreting the lives of people of African ancestry in the Revolutionary era. This year’s program, which runs from July 5, 2023 – August 11, 2023, introduces eight participants to the museum field and the world of costumed historical interpretation, with a focus on enslaved and free people of African descent.

Launched in 2022, the Summer Institute aims to cultivate and support a more diverse community of people engaged in the museum field. It is part of the Museum’s African American Interpretive Program, sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, which the Museum launched in 2021 to significantly expand its capacity to develop and deliver programs that explore the lives, experiences, and impact of Revolutionary-era people of African descent. 

Throughout the summer, participants will have the opportunity to discover some of the Museum’s most popular programs and offerings, including special exhibition Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, Washington’s War Tent, and first-person theatrical performances like “Meet James Forten.” Through workshops facilitated by Museum staff and guest speakers, students will delve into a range of topics, including historical costuming, museum careers, and historical empathy.

The program includes weekly offsite research trips to sites like the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, NJ; the Dennis Farm in Susquehanna, PA; the Betsy Ross House; Historic Germantown; and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Participants are provided with transportation to and from all offsite excursions.

The summer institute culminates with a free, open-to-public capstone experience on the lawn outside The McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (3355 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia) on Saturday, August 5, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Here, students will set up the Museum's replica of George Washington’s Revolutionary War encampment, dress in 18th-century clothing, and demonstrate alongside Museum staff what life was like for Washington and the soldiers, camp followers, and free and enslaved people who traveled with him on campaign.

“We are fortunate to have an outstanding group of young people who are fully engaged and significantly contributing to all facets of this year’s Living History Youth Summer Institute,” said Michael Idriss, the Museum’s African American Interpretive Fellow. “It has been a blast to watch them gain knowledge about historical costumed interpretation, career paths in the museum field, and the importance of being a good storyteller, especially in communicating the work of both free and enslaved people of African descent. I’m impressed by their quick progress and proud to be working with them.” 

The Museum’s African American Interpretive Program is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal. Additional support for the Living History Youth Summer Institute provided by the Frances and Benjamin Benenson Foundation in honor of Morris W. Offit, Bergman Foundation, and National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

About Living History Youth Summer Institute
The Museum of the American Revolution’s Living History Youth Summer Institute introduces Philadelphia-area high school and college students between the ages of 15 and 21 to the world of costumed historical interpretation with a focus on enslaved and free people of African descent. Participants explore the many aspects of museum work as potential career avenues, including education, curation, fundraising, marketing, interpretive planning, community outreach, acting, and more. In this summer course, students learn from experienced African American interpreters who work at historical organizations and museums from across the country about researching and interpreting the lives of people of African ancestry throughout Revolutionary America.

Participation in this six-week program is compensated for students. Participants must be available for the entirety of the program on weekdays and live within commuting distance of the Museum of the American Revolution. Participants are provided with SEPTA passes, PATCO passes (if needed), and transportation to additional off-site tours and field trips. Please stay tuned to the Museum's social media channels and website for information and application opportunities regarding the 2024 Living History Youth Summer Institute. For more information, visit www.amrevmuseum.org/living-history-youth-summer-institute

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.