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Thomas Jefferson whiskey decanter recontextualized as contemporary art by artist John Y Wind.
Thomas Jefferson, 2022 John Wind Studio

Whiskey Rebellion by Local Contemporary Artist John Y Wind on Display Through June 30

The Museum of the American Revolution will feature new artifact displays, a contemporary art installation, and special programming to mark Pride Month this June.

Throughout the month, the Museum is pleased to present Whiskey Rebellion, an installation of sculptures by Philadelphia artist John Y Wind in the second-floor Oneida Indian Nation Atrium. Wind’s work transforms hand-painted, ceramic decanters of key figures from the American Revolution that were produced by the Jim Beam Distilling Company and their competitors from the 1960s-70s to circumvent a new federal whiskey tax and tap into Bicentennial fever. His recontextualized works explore issues of masculinity, heroism, diversity, and the very notion of commemoration through a 21st century lens.

“The series was inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton.’ The time travel, pop culture mash-up, and outsider lens… The social and political concerns of our times layered with my own queer sensibility—all set the stage for an intervention,” Wind said. “I asked myself what are the tropes that convey authority here? The uniforms, decorations, and elaborate pedestals—I wanted to have a go at it, insert myself, humanize them and redefine what a hero looks like in 2024. This is my whiskey rebellion.”

On Saturday, June 22, Museum guests will have the opportunity to meet Wind and dive deeper into the history and meaning of the installation as part of daily programming. This will include a guided tour of Whiskey Rebellion with the artist at 11:15 a.m., as well as the opportunity to explore his artistic process and inspiration with a pop-up Discovery Cart featuring Wind from 1­-3 p.m. Both opportunities will take place in the Oneida Indian Nation Atrium.

In addition to the installation featuring Wind’s work, the Museum will dedicate a second-floor display to Prussian immigrant and military leader Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben (1730-1794), also known as Baron von Steuben, who helped shape the Continental Army into a powerful fighting force during the Revolutionary War. 

Steuben’s charming and charismatic behavior endeared him to his fellow soldiers and friends but his close and cherished relationships with men caused some people to wonder about his sexuality. Through objects and artwork related to Steuben – both on loan and from the Museum’s collection – the Museum digs deeper into Steuben’s reputation and identity. One highlight of the new case display will be a portrait of Steuben he himself commissioned from American painter Charles Willson Peale, on loan from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Portrait of Baron von Steuben in his military officer blue uniform with gold trim painted by Charles Willson Peale.
Oil-on-canvas portrait of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben painted by Charles Willson Peale in Philadelphia in 1780. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Deposited by Mrs. Martha L.M. Peters.

See the display on view at the Museum in the Color Guard of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution case on the second floor through December 2024.

Programming planned for June will provide opportunities for Museum guests to explore lesser-known stories of people who, during the American Revolution, challenged gender and social norms. Other Pride Month highlights include:

Read the Revolution Speaker Series with John Gilbert McCurdy on

Thursday, June 6, from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

The event will serve as a book launch for Vicious and Immoral: Homosexuality, the American Revolution, and the Trials of Robert Newburgh, McCurdy’s third published work which explores surprising truths about LGBTQ+ history in early America. Building on research from his second book, Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution, McCurdy will present the fascinating story of a British Army chaplain’s 1774 trial with a historical discussion on homosexuality and the American Revolution Tickets can be purchased here.

Pop-Up Talks, Discovery Carts, and More

Daily from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

In daily gallery pop-up talks, explore how clothing was used to make political or personal statements as well as signify – or defy – gender roles in the 18th century, much like today. This discussion of “Fashion in the Revolution,” led by a Museum educator, showcases how clothing was used to differentiate military rank as well as civilians and children of different classes, background, and regions. These stories and points are illustrated through the Museum’s many “tableau” displays, which bring history to life through life-cast figures, recreated environments and carefully reproduced clothing of the time.

Museum educators will also lead in-gallery discussions of historical figures like Hannah Snell and Deborah Sampson, whose stories help incapsulate what is known – as well as what isn’t – regarding gender expression in the 1700s. Sampson was a Massachusetts woman who joined and served in the Continental Army in disguise, using the alias Robert Shurtliff and using he/him pronouns, discovered only by a doctor due to illness. Learn more about Sampson with our hands-on discovery cart, which features replica objects and documents that help guests uncover the many interesting and still-debated layers of her story.

Snell was a British woman who served in the Royal Marines as James Gray, and Museum guests can learn more about her life and legacy in 10-minute pop-up talks given all month long near the life-sized recreated “sloop” ship in our core galleries. Educators will discuss how both of these stories give us rare glimpses into the lives, choices, and motivations of people who challenged gender roles in the Revolutionary era. 

Read the Revolution Speaker Series tickets can be purchased here. All other Pride Month activities are included with regular Museum admission. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Witness to Revolution 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, or at the front desk. Save $2 per adult ticket by purchasing online. Kids ages 5 and under are always free. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days.

About John Y Wind

John Y Wind was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and studied at the University of Pennsylvania and London’s Slade School of Fine Art. His art explores the intersection of art, commerce, portraiture and history. It is layered with ephemera and objects from his travels, his past, and his obsessions. He is also the founder and designer of John Wind Jewelry, an internationally known fashion jewelry and gift company. The language and materials of jewelry are often represented in his sculpture.

Wind's work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he has had art exhibitions in Philadelphia, New York, Miami, and London.

About John McCurdy

Dr. John Gilbert McCurdy is Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University. Quarters was named 2019 Book of the Year by the Journal of the American Revolution and received a Book Award Honorable Mention from the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Cambridge World History of Violence, and The Journal of Urban History.

McCurdy received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2004. He also holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago and B.A. from Knox College. He has received numerous fellowships including from the British Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the University of Michigan. He has taught at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) since 2005. He has been nominated for several teaching awards, and he received the Faculty Scholarship Award in 2010. He regularly teaches courses in colonial and Revolutionary America, as well as LGBTQ+ history. He currently serves as the EMU History Graduate Coordinator. John McCurdy lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

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 or call 877.740.1776.