Memorable Moments from Our First Three YearsApril 19, 2020
As the Museum marks its third anniversary on April 19, we’re looking back at the most memorable moments in the Museum’s first three years from those who know us best – our hardworking and passionate staff members! From the once-in-a-lifetime experience of building and opening a brand-new museum to welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to explore our dynamic exhibits and programs, it has been an incredible journey.
As we reflect on our history, we’re also looking ahead to an exciting fourth year, including the opening of our special exhibition When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1775-1807. We’re also looking ahead to the 250th anniversary of our nation’s founding in 2026. We hope you will join us onsite or online as – together – we ensure that the promise of the American Revolution endures!
Favorite staff memories include:
“Opening night of our special exhibition Among His Troops: Washington’s War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor in January of 2018. There was so much excitement!” – Matthew S.
“Soon after joining the Museum, I had the opportunity to help put on our very first Summer Teacher Institute. As a former classroom teacher, it was exciting to help make such a memorable experience for so many other teachers and aid them in bringing the Revolution back to their schools in ways they never had before. Accompanying them on their many exploits also afforded me the unique chance to see precious historical objects and even to hold the key to Independence Hall!” – Michael H.
“The Native American dancers on the plaza during Indigenous Peoples Weekend - powerful and moving.” – Becky P.
“My Museum memory: Imagine that it would be a slightly stress-inducing experience to walk Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough through the Museum on the eve of our public opening in 2017. Five years earlier, I had shared my concept for the Museum with him while sitting on his couch in Boston. I have to confess, I didn’t take all of his advice. But he loved it, and only weeks after this picture was taken, was telling people on national television that all Americans should see this Museum.” – Scott S.
“My favorite memories are all of the beautiful and elegant events we've thrown together! From the Grand Opening Gala to the Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution Award and the George Washington Council Dinner (Who doesn't love a half tent!?). We've created some pretty magical experiences for our guests and I'm really proud of them!” – Julia S.
“Free Museum Day in 2019 as part of Wawa Welcome America. It was so fun and gratifying to see 3600-plus people enjoying the Museum in one day!” – Adam R.
“My favorite ‘memory’ is getting to meet and work with so many wonderful people! They truly are what make this museum a lovely place to work and visit.” – Nina G.
“Changing the name of the Patriots Gallery to the Eagles Gallery during the lead-up to the Super Bowl was one of my favorite fun things the Museum did. It was great to watch visitors get halfway up/down the staircase and stop as they saw it and laugh, take a picture, etc. I think it was a great moment where we proved that cultural institutions don't always have to take things super seriously, and that joy, laughter, and levity are not mutually exclusive with learning and education.” – Bee R.
“Raising a glass to our closest supporters and sharing an unforgettable meal at the George Washington Council Dinner.” – Julia N.
“Singing the Philadelphia Eagles fight song with other staff members when we renamed the Museum’s Patriots Gallery as the ‘Eagles Gallery’ during the Patriots vs. Eagles Superbowl in 2018.” – Jessica P.
“This is too hard! So many favorite memories. I guess I would have to pick seeing Gerry Lenfest 'cut' the ribbon on opening day.” – ZeeAnn M.
“Probably my interactions with Gerry Lenfest and his strong belief in the Museum and the importance of our work. Luncheons with donors when he deflected every question they asked about him, deftly refocusing back to them, making them feel so special. He was a master salesperson, but he did it genuinely and with humility.” – Claudia S.
“Hard to pick but I'm fond of our first-year anniversary celebration where we had hundreds of people attend, a photo booth, and activities. It was a great marker for everything we had done since opening. My other favorite memory would be any time I got to spend time with the Guest Services staff in the galleries.” – Elena B.
“One of my favorite memories was arriving at the Museum at 4 a.m. on the day of our grand opening for a morning TV hit. It was still dark out, but the stage and hundreds of chairs for the opening ceremony were already set up on our outdoor plaza. It was a moment of calm before the craziness of the day that I will never forget.” – Alex M.
“My second day of work at the Museum was especially memorable: marching around Old City Philadelphia with a group of Redcoats, ‘occupying’ SEPTA cars, La Colombe coffee shop, local news outlets, and the Visitor Center.” – Kevin R.
For more highlights from the Museum first three years, visit here.