Vice President Biden, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author David McCullough Among Opening Day Speakers for Museum of the American Revolution
Limited Tickets Will Be Available for the Opening Ceremony via Enter-to-Win Contest
PHILADELPHIA, March 22, 2017 — Vice President Joe Biden, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, and best-selling author, journalist, and political commentator Cokie Roberts have joined the roster of speakers for the Museum of the American Revolution’s grand opening ceremony on Wednesday, April 19. The date marks the 242nd anniversary of the “shot heard ‘round the world” that ignited the Revolutionary War in 1775.
“Vice President Biden has worked tirelessly on both sides of the aisle at the highest levels of government, and is committed to the Philadelphia region. With a passion for education and deep appreciation for history, he embodies the Museum’s mission to instill the lessons of liberty in every rising generation,” said Michael Quinn, President and CEO of the Museum of the American Revolution. “We are thrilled to have him join us, along with acclaimed authors and speakers David McCullough and Cokie Roberts, and our other distinguished guests, to celebrate the opening of this essential Museum.”
The opening events will begin at 8 a.m. with a program that stretches from Washington Square to Independence Hall, and culminates on the plaza in front of the Museum, highlighting the rich Revolutionary history of Philadelphia and engaging as many people as possible.
The official dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Museum’s outdoor plaza. In addition to Biden, McCullough, and Roberts the ceremony also will include addresses by Dr. Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University; Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO, and a Museum Board Member; and Colonel John E. Bircher III, representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Also speaking will be Founding Museum Chairman Emeritus H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest; current Museum Chairman General John P. Jumper; and Museum President and CEO Michael Quinn.
Musical guests will include the Philadelphia Boys Choir and a brass quintet from the Curtis Institute of Music. Sydney James Harcourt from the original cast of the Broadway phenomenon “Hamilton” will perform songs from the show.
Tickets are required for the ceremony as space is limited. Opening ceremony tickets, which will include access to the Museum, will be available through an enter-to-win contest on www.nbc10.com/on-air/contests from April 3-14. General admission tickets to the Museum on opening day (not including the opening ceremony) are available for purchase now at www.amrevmuseum.org or by calling 267.579.3596. The Museum will be open for extended hours on opening day.
General admission tickets are $19 for adults; $17 for students, active or retired military, and AAA and AARP members with ID; and $12 for children ages 6 and up. Children ages 5 and under are free. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days. Group tickets for parties of 15 or more are currently available for a discounted price by calling 267.858.3308. Memberships are also available for purchase at www.amrevmuseum.org/membership or by calling 215.253.6731.
At 8 a.m. on April 19, the public opening will begin with a reflective and reverential tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution in Washington Square. The tribute will include a Native American blessing, a spiritual by the choir of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, and an interfaith prayer by leaders of over a dozen historic and modern congregations of Philadelphia. The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) will place a wreath at the Tomb, offering military honors to the fallen soldiers of the Revolution. Speakers and other participants will then process up 6th Street to Independence Mall, led by The Old Guard and color guards representing the original colonies, including Philadelphia’s First City Troop.
The program will continue at 9 a.m. with pageantry and patriotic fanfare in front of Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center, including remarks by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park Service Cynthia MacLeod, as well as a Revolutionary War tactical demonstration by The Commander-in-Chief's Guard from 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and a Revolutionary War musical performance by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. NBC-10 news anchor Vai Sikahema will emcee the program.
Also outside Independence Hall, more than 250 local students from St. Mary’s Interparochial School will create a “living flag” featuring George Washington’s Standard, a flag now in the Museum’s collection that marked the Commander in Chief’s presence on the battlefield during the Revolutionary War. At the conclusion of this portion of the ceremony, participants will continue their procession down Chestnut Street to the new Museum for the official dedication and ribbon-cutting.
The opening events will be live-streamed online at www.amrevmuseum.org and on video screens at the Museum’s plaza. C-SPAN also will be airing the event live.
From April 20-23, visitors will be treated to special programming including music, costumed interpreters, and family-friendly activities as the Museum celebrates its public opening.
About the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution, opening in the heart of historic Philadelphia on April 19, 2017, 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 www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.
About Vice President Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., represented Delaware for 36 years in the U.S. Senate before becoming the 47th Vice President of the United States. As a Senator from Delaware for 36 years, Vice President Biden established himself as a leader in facing some of our nation's most important domestic and international challenges. As the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden continued his leadership on important issues facing the nation and has represented our country abroad, traveling over 1.2 million miles to more than 50 countries. Vice President Biden convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, led interagency efforts, and worked with Congress in his fight to raise the living standards of middle class Americans, reduce gun violence, address violence against women, and end cancer as we know it. He was recently named chair of Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center and will lead new academic centers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware.
About Col. John E. Bircher III
Col. John E. Bircher III (ret.), is National Director of Public Relations for the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is awarded to combat-wounded servicemen and women, and traces its origin to the Badge of Military Merit established by Gen. George Washington in 1782 as America’s first military decoration. Bircher joined the U.S. Army in 1959 as an enlisted man and received his Purple Heart as a member of Special Forces in Vietnam. He served for 30 years as a Middle East Intelligence Officer, including an exchange at the Department of State as the Director of Middle East Regional Affairs. Col. Bircher has also been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star for Valor, and numerous other U.S. and foreign decorations.
About Vincent Brown
Vincent Brown is a multi-media historian with a keen interest in the political implications of cultural practice. He directs the History Design Studio and teaches courses in Atlantic history, African diaspora studies, and the history of slavery at Harvard University. Brown is the author of The Reaper's Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Harvard University Press, 2008) and producer of an audiovisual documentary about the anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits broadcast on the PBS series “Independent Lens.” He is currently writing a book about African diasporic warfare in the Americas.
About Ray Halbritter
Ray Halbritter is the Nation Representative of the Oneida Indian Nation and the Chief Executive Officer of its enterprises, leading the Oneida people to an economic and cultural renaissance that has been hailed as a national model of success. With Halbritter at the helm, the Oneida Nation became the first American Indian government in 1979 to offer gaming operations on sovereign land — one of many prescient moves that positioned the Oneida people to build what would become a world-class entertainment and gaming facility in the heart of the Northeast. Halbritter has instilled in the Oneida’s business enterprises a sense of cultural investment, making sure that revenues are invested in health care, schools and services for Oneida members, as well as in institutions that will help protect the Oneida’s heritage. The Oneida Nation donated $10 million to the Museum in 2012.
About David McCullough
Called “one of America’s greatest living writers” by the Washington Post, David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Greater Journey, 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including more than 50 honorary degrees and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. McCullough also received the Museum’s inaugural Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution Award in 2016. For more information, visit www.DavidMcCullough.com.
About Cokie Roberts
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming, as well as for NPR. From 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program “This Week.” In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. She has written New York Times bestsellers including We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, Founding Mothers, and Ladies of Liberty. Her most recent books are Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868 (2015), and a children’s version of Ladies of Liberty, illustrated by Diane Goode, which was published in December 2016.