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It's almost that time of year again! As the holiday season approaches, the Museum of the American Revolution offers a wide range of festive, family-friendly and historically-themed events, from special Veterans Day weekend programs (free for veterans and military!) to a holiday season kick-off featuring a performance from Nutcracker 1776 to author talks by renowned historians. 


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lunchtime Author Talk with Dr. Carol Berkin

A Sovereign People: The Crises of the 1790s and the Birth of American Nationalism

Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Free with Museum admission, lecture-only $5

Author and historian Dr. Carol Berkin joins the Museum of the American Revolution on November 2 to discuss her book A Sovereign People: The Crises of the 1790s and the Birth of American Nationalism, which Publishers Weekly describes as “a distinctive new interpretation of the events of the 1790s” and an “enjoyable and lively survey.” Berkin is Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College and a member of the history faculty of The Graduate Center of CUNY. She teaches early American and women’s history. Bring your own lunch or purchase one in the Museum’s Cross Keys Café. A book-signing will follow the event.

Performance of the Nutcracker
Nutcracker 1776. Photo courtesy of the Rock School.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Noon – 4 p.m.

Holiday Season Kick-Off with Nutcracker 1776 by the Rock School and Shane Confectionery

Free with Museum Admission

Nutcracker 1776 is an adaption of the original ballet, bringing the classic tale to life with a Revolutionary spin, including historically-inspired costumes. Come see the world-renowned Rock School for Dance Education’s international and local ballet students celebrate the start of the holiday season with a mini-performance, sample kids’ classes with live music, and a photo opportunity with Nutcracker 1776 costumed dancers. Shane Confectionery also will join the Museum for chocolate-making demonstrations.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

3 – 5 p.m.

Book signing with Dr. William Harrison Taylor
Unity in Christ and Country: American Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Era, 1758-1801


Dr. William Harrison Taylor, Associate Professor of History at Alabama State University and author of Unity in Christ and Country: American Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Era, 1758-1801 (University of Alabama Press, 2017), will visit the Museum to sign books while he is in town for the old Pine Street Church’s 250th Anniversary Speaker Series. In his current book, Taylor examines the interdenominational pursuits of the American Presbyterian Church from 1758-1801 to highlight the church’s ambitious agenda of fostering and uniting a host of New World values, among them Christendom, nationalism, and territorial exceptionalism.

Friday, November 10 – Sunday, November 12, 2017

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Veterans Day Weekend

Free with Museum Admission, free for veterans

The Museum of the American Revolution will celebrate the Marine Corps’ birthday (November 10) and Veterans Day (November 11) by offering free admission to veterans and military from Friday – Sunday, as well as special programs and activities related to early American soldiers. The Marine Corps formed just down the street from the Museum at Tun Tavern in 1775. Walking tours to the location where Tun Tavern used to stand (corner of Chestnut and Front Streets) will depart from the Museum’s outdoor plaza at 11a.m. and 2 p.m. On Veterans Day, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Historian Philip Mead will present a special talk on veteran and memoirist Joseph Plumb Martin at 2 p.m. Visitors can experience programs and storytelling based on Revolutionary War pension narratives in which veterans and widows wrote about their wartime experiences, their families, and their postwar lives. Visitors can also explore the stories behind the rare photographs of people who lived through the Revolutionary War that conclude the Museum’s exhibits. Throughout the weekend, visitors can write notes thanking the soldiers of today for their service.

Photo of a museum exhibit
Look into the eyes of veterans of the Revolutionary War

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Dr. Joanne Freeman

Hunting for Hamilton: Getting to Know a Flawed and (Now) Famous Founder

Tickets are $25 for general admission and $5 for members (tickets include access to Museum galleries from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.)
Dr. Joanne Freeman, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, will discuss her lifelong hunt to understand Alexander Hamilton and his world, a quest that has taken her to the Caribbean and Scotland, compelled her to fire a black powder dueling pistol, and connected her with the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which was influenced by her work and writings. This event is co-sponsored by the Museum of the American Revolution and the Yale Club of Philadelphia.

Friday, November 24 – Sunday, November 26, 2017

11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Black Friday and Thanksgiving Weekend

Free with Museum Admission

This Black Friday, the Museum of the American Revolution invites you to learn about the surprising history of shopping. Meet a revolutionary shopper on her way home from the market and see what she has in her basket. Encounter rare survivals of consumer goods from the 1700s. Learn about what the people who once lived on the site of the Museum once bought, used, and threw away, and how it was discovered by archaeologists. A printed gallery guide will highlight connections to the revolutionary marketplace within the exhibits. Did the American Revolutionaries invent the pilgrims? Throughout the weekend, visitors will uncover the unexpected connections between the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, and the Revolutionary War. Visitors also will see the Museum’s colorful holiday window illuminations, based on those by Philadelphia artist Charles Willson Peale. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017 from 5- 7p.m. (no exhibit access)

"Illuminating Liberty” and Hot Chocolate Happy Hour

As part of Old City District’s Historic Holiday Nights, start a magical new holiday tradition by coming to see “Illuminating Liberty," the Museum of the American Revolution’s colorful new window illuminations, based on those by Philadelphia artist Charles Willson Peale. The window illuminations will be on display nightly from November 30 through the New Year. The Museum’s Cross Keys Café will be offering seasonal treats including Shane’s Hot Cocoa, and hot seasonal cocktails. The Museum’s gift shop will be open for holiday shopping. Visitors can try on Revolutionary-inspired clothing and design their own decorative window illuminations on the Museum’s first-floor. 


Gingerbread Making with American Cakes Author Anny Bryn

Saturday, December 9, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Free with Museum Admission

Gingerbread is the most revolutionary of all American cakes, with a rich history in early American culture. On Dec. 9, New York Times best-selling author Anne Byrn will join the Museum for a family-friendly illustrated talk, book signing, and gingerbread baking demonstration from her book, American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More than 125 of our Best-Loved Cakes. At 11 a.m., Bryn will tell stories about the history and significance of baking in America. At 1 p.m., visitors can watch as Bryn whips up her Mary Ball Washington Gingerbread cake and sample a piece of gingerbread. At 2 p.m., visitors can make their own star-shaped ornament, take a recipe card, and gather for story time as an educator reads Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 (this event was previously scheduled for Sept. 13, but was rescheduled due to hurricane-related travel delays)

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Lunchtime Author Talk with Robert Watson

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn


Join the Museum of the American Revolution for a lunchtime talk with author Robert Watson in the Museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery. Watson will discuss his new book The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An Untold Story of the American Revolution, which tells the astonishing story of a prison ship just off the coast of Brooklyn that took the lives of thousands of Americans, and its surprising role in securing American Independence. Bring your own lunch or purchase one in the Museum’s Cross Keys Café. A book-signing will take place following the event.

Tuesday, December 26 – December 31, 2017

Mother and child at an exhibit
Learn about Revolutionary Philadelphia during Winter Break

11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Winter Break

Free with Museum Admission

During Winter Break, explore the stories of the people who lived right here at Third and Chestnut Streets during the Revolutionary era. Every day at 11 a.m., visitors can participate in a demonstration of activities that would have taken place in the Museum’s neighborhood during the 18th century, from fencing to dancing and more. At 2 p.m., guests can attend a discussion in the Museum’s third-floor Liberty Hall about Philadelphia during the Revolutionary era. At an archaeology cart, visitors can learn about what the people who once lived on the site of the Museum once bought, used, and threw away, and how it was discovered by archaeologists. Visitors also will see the Museum’s colorful holiday window illuminations, based on those by Philadelphia artist Charles Willson Peale, and make one of their own to take home. The Museum will remain open until 6 p.m. for extended holiday hours from Dec. 26-30. It will close at 3 p.m. on December 31 for New Years Eve and is closed on January 1 for New Years Day.

General admission is $19 for adults, $17 for seniors, college students, and active or retired military, $12 for children ages 6 and up. Children ages 5 and under are free. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days. Tickets can be purchased at the Museum, online at, or by phone at 215.253.6731.