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The following definitions may be useful as you explore the Witness to Revolution: The Unlikely Travels of Washington's Tent Teacher Resources, Big Ideas, and Primary Sources. Print or download the PDF for even easier access as you explore.

A French term meaning “aid of camp,” which refers to a military officer who serves as a confidential assistant to a senior officer.

A lightweight, silver-colored metal that is used in all sorts of everyday products.

Someone who creates objects with metal, usually iron and steel.

Someone who builds structures and objects out of wood.

Centennial International Exhibition
Held in Philadelphia from May to November 1876, the Centennial Exhibition was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and was the first “world’s fair” to be held in the United States. A world’s fair is a large exhibition that showcases one or more countries’ industrial, scientific, and cultural achievements. Ten million people visited the exhibition in Philadelphia.

A senior rank for a military officer. During the Revolutionary War, a colonel usually had command of a regiment. The size of a regiment varied, but it was usually hundreds of soldiers.

Confederate States of America
Also known as the Confederacy, a collection of states that seceded from the United States in 1861, following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States of America. The Confederacy included Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Someone who works at a museum or gallery and manages a collection of art and objects. Curators also help plan exhibits.

A form of government ruled by a single person or small group of people. A dictator often uses force and violence to gain, enforce, and maintain their power. Citizens have little or no say in government decisions and lack many civil rights.

The belief that certain qualities — like social ranking, wealth, and education — make a small group of individuals superior to the rest of society and more worthy of holding power.

A temporary military site where troops can rest and prepare for battle. An encampment typically consists of huts or tents alongside kitchens, bathrooms, and stables. The word can also describe the act of residing at one of these sites. During the Revolutionary War, the longest encampments were during the wintertime when fighting did not typically occur.

Someone who designs and builds machines, structures, or other products that help provide practical solutions to various problems.

Owned by another person. Saying “enslaved person” rather than “slave” can remind people of the humanity of the person who is in the condition of being owned by another person.

Related to the Episcopal Church, a Protestant denomination (subgroup) of Christianity.

Federalist Party
The Federalists were an early American political party led most notably by Alexander Hamilton. Federalists supported a loose interpretation of the Constitution, a strong central government and National Bank, and an economy that focused on industry rather than agriculture. They were political opponents of the Democratic-Republican Party.

Fire Suppression System
A system to extinguish fires and keep them from spreading.

Grassroots Fundraising
A fundraising method that relies on small donations from many individuals instead of big donations from very influential people or groups.

A ring-shaped piece of metal, plastic, or other material that is used to protect the edges of holes made in fabric or other thin materials.

A group of soldiers trained and equipped to fight on foot.

Someone who fits pieces of wood together to make furniture and other parts of buildings like windows and doors.

Marquee (pronounced “mar-kee”)
A large tent. The word comes from the French word “marquise,” meaning a large linen tent with a canopy and open sides that is most commonly used for outdoor social events. Washington’s sleeping and office tent and dining tent were both sometimes referred to as marquees.

Marquis (pronounced “mar-kee”)
A title for a high-ranking male member of the nobility.

An earlier action or event that is seen as an example or guide for similar actions or events in the future.

A group of soldiers in a military unit that fight together on foot or on horseback. The size of a regiment varies from army to army, but it was usually hundreds of soldiers.

An object from the past that is kept and respected for its association with an important person, place, or event.

An exact copy of an object. Replicas are often made so that the original object can be kept safe, while allowing more people to understand what the object looks and feels like and how it works.

Something that extends in length and is able to be pulled back in.

A political entity (state, nation, etc.) in which the people and their elected officials hold supreme power. Unlike in a monarchy, leaders in a republic are elected and have limits on their time in office.

Republican Party
An early American political party led by Thomas Jefferson often called the Democratic-Republican party. They believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, stronger state governments, and an agriculture-based economy. This political party was opponents of the Federalist Party.

To break away from an established nation or state and become independent.

Someone who makes and alters clothing.

Textile Conservator
Someone who is responsible for the care, treatment, and preservation of textiles (cloth or woven fabric.)

Ultraviolet Light
A type of radiation from the sun that can be harmful to people and other organic materials — like textiles, books, and paintings — in large quantities.

Someone who makes fabric by interlacing yarn or thread using a machine called a loom.

Someone who makes and repairs wooden wheels.

Learn More

This graphic depicts a teacher in front of a chalkboard and by clicking the image, it will take you to Teacher Resources.

Witness to Revolution Teacher Resources

Explore the modular activities and ready-made worksheets to help your students dig deeper into the complexities of the Revolutionary era and other periods in American history through the story of General George Washington’s headquarters tent.
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This graphic depicts a lightbulb and, by clicking, will provide you with short essays that put the stories of Andrew, Deborah, Eve, Jack, and London into historical context.

Witness to Revolution Big Ideas

Explore these short framing essays to learn about the complexities of the Revolutionary era and other periods in American history through the story of General George Washington’s headquarters tent.
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A recreated of an end of Washington's tent displayed with his camp bed and additional camp items.

Witness to Revolution: The Unlikely Travels of Washington's Tent

Now Open Through January 5, 2025
Witness to Revolution, now open through Jan. 5, 2025, brings to life the journey of George Washington’s tent from the Revolutionary War to an enduring symbol of the American republic.
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