4th of July

Spend Independence Day with us! Kids age 17 and younger get free admission to the Museum on Sunday, July 4.

Weight: 
14
Duration: 
01:56

The first answers easy: 22 gallons. The decoration is more complicated. It recalls a key event in American history that few people remember today: the Marquis de Lafayette's visit to the United States in 1824. Two scenes show Lafayette's ship, a steamboat, arriving at the tip of Manhattan, escorted by other ships with flags flying, while cannons fire salutes from the shore. Two hundred thousand people lined lower Broadway for a parade in his honor. Why the celebration? Well, you may recall from high school history that Lafayette was a hero of the American Revolution, a general wounded in battle, and George Washington thought of him like a son. After the war Lafayette returned to France. In 1824 President James Monroe invited him back for a visit, and the country went nuts for him! For over a year he toured large cities and small towns in all 24 states of the young nation. And everywhere he went there were parades, banquets, fireworks and concerts in his honor. Lafayette's visit reminded Americans about how their nation began and what it stood for, and sparked a huge rise in patriotism. The New York City celebration included a banquet inside Castle Garden, today called Castle Clinton, which is the round building seen on the punch bowl. So you might think this bowl was used at that banquet. Not possible. There are architectural details about Castle Garden in the punch bowl's decoration that didnt exist till years later. So this bowl was probably made in the 1840s or '50s, and used by the owners of Castle Garden to commemorate the visit and promote their establishment.

This is an enormous punch bowl. Look inside—you can see a pale stain left from the punch! Now, you probably have two questions: how much does it hold? And what are the pictures on the outside about?
 

Creative: Tronvig Group