Revolutionary Summer

Starting July 4, journey back to the Revolutionary War, a time of cavalry, militia drills, metalsmiths, and spies! A Museum-wide celebration running through September 15, Revolutionary Summer showcases something new each weekend, when our outdoor courtyard becomes a Continental Army encampment. Visit a replica of George Washington’s Headquarters Tent, enjoy rousing fife and drum music, and meet fascinating Living Historians portraying early Americans from all walks of life. 



The centerpiece of Revolutionary Summer, a replica of Washington's Headquarters Tent, is on display in our outdoor courtyard on select Fridays and weekends this summer. Often called the "first Oval Office," it was where Washington and his most trusted staff plotted the strategy that ultimately won the Revolutionary War. On loan from the Museum of the American Revolution (MoAR), the painstakingly detailed, hand-sewn replica was created in a collaboration between MoAR and Colonial Williamsburg. The Tent is staffed by MoAR educators, who lead visitors on an immersive tour through history, and is on view to the public on the following weekends:

Thursday–Sunday, July 47
Friday–Sunday, July 2628
Friday–Sunday, August 1618
Friday–Sunday, August 2325
Friday–Sunday, September 1315


Explore amazing art and artifacts from the Revolutionary era throughout the Museum during the week and on weekends during Revolutionary Summer! Among the highlights: a recently discovered watercolor painting of the 1782 Continental Army encampment at Verplanck’s Point, New York; a stunning diorama of the Continental Army; an iconic Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington; a gilded horse's tail ripped from a statue of King George III by jubilant crowds in New York City in 1776; and a pipe tomahawk gifted by Washington to Seneca Chief Sagoyewatha. 

Also on view are precious documents from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History collection, including a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence printed by Peter Timothy in Charleston, SC, in 1776; a broadside from King George III officially ending the war; a letter by Martha Washington detailing life in the aftermath of the Revolution; and much more!


Join the Revolution every weekend this summer. Programs are FREE with Museum Admission. The * indicates Washington’s Headquarters Tent and staff from MoAR are available all day during regular Museum hours. All other programs are 11 am–3 pm. Enjoy outdoor refreshments! Light snacks and beverages, including beer and wine, are available for cash purchase. All ages, but ID required to purchase alcohol

* Independence Day: George Washington’s Encampment and More!
Thursday, July 4
Join us for our opening day celebration exploring George Washington’s encampment! Enter the Headquarters tent, meet the man himself, and experience daily life in the Continental Army with staff from the Museum of the American Revolution. Also on tap: singalongs with the Hudson River Ramblers, fife and drum corps music, and Living Historians, including John Adams, who will read the Declaration of Independence. 

* Revolutionary Summer Fridays
Friday, July 5   |   Friday, July 26   |   Friday, August 16   |   Friday, August 23   |   Friday, September 13 
Washington’s Headquarters Tent and MoAR staff await you on these select Fridays from 10 am–8 pm.

* Spies, Bodyguards, and Agents
Saturday & Sunday, July 6 & 7
Your top-secret mission: Meet George Washington and his spies and decode your own message. (Washington's Headquarters Tent will be on view.)

Join the Continental Army
Saturday & Sunday, July 13 & 14   Saturday & Sunday, August 10 & 11 |  Saturday & Sunday, August 31 & September 1
The Continental Army wants you! Explore the encampment tents and display of 18-century weaponry and participate in drills.

Everyday Life in Camp
Saturday & Sunday, July 20 & 21
Experience the daily life of soldiers and their families with the 3rd New Jersey Regiment, and meet the women who helped them in the encampment.

* Field Music on the March
Saturday & Sunday, July 27 & 28
March along to Revolutionary War field music performed by the drum and fife musicians of Heart of Oak and the New Jersey Field Music Group. (Washington's Headquarters Tent will be on view.)

Deborah Sampson, Fighting Woman
Saturday & Sunday, August 3 & 4
Meet Deborah Sampson—the woman who disguised her gender to enlist in the Continental Army—and members of her regiment, the 4th Massachusetts.

* 18th Century Clothing
Saturday & Sunday, August 17 & 18
Make cloth on a loom with educator and Living Historian Diane Schwindt and cheer on the N-YHS Historical Interpreters as they race to sew a woman’s bed gown! (Washington's Headquarters Tent will be on view.)

* Foodways of the American Revolution
Saturday & Sunday, August 24 & 25
Join culinary historian Lavada Nahon and explore what average Continental Army soldiers and officers such as George Washington ate during the American Revolution. (Washington's Headquarters Tent will be on view.)

Black New York
Saturday & Sunday, September 7 & 8
Learn about the jobs and culture of Africans, both free and enslaved, who called New York City their home during the Revolutionary War. 

* Metalsmithing in George Washington’s Encampment
Saturday & Sunday, September 14 & 15
Learn all about the crucial craft of metalsmithing and even take a turn yourself! (Washington's Headquarters Tent will be on view.)


Revolutionary Trivia Night
Friday, July 12   
Do you know what Washington’s favorite breakfast beverage was? If you do (and even if you don’t), bring your friends for a fun night of trivia by the fact fanatics at Trivia, AD!

Revolutionary Drag Tea Party
Sunday, July 14
Dress to impress in your best period-inspired drag, enjoy snack and cocktails, and compete in categories like Most Revolutionary Outfit.

Trans Identity and the Incredible Story of Deborah Sampson, Revolutionary War Hero
Wednesday, July 24
Delve into the fascinating, true story of Revolutionary War hero Deborah Sampson with author Alex Myers as he discusses his novel Revolutionary.

Watson Adventures: Scavenger Hunt
Sunday, July 28  |  Sunday, August 4
Explore the Museum's Revolutionary Summer artifacts and solve a series of puzzles involving objects on display, led by Watson Adventures.

Nerdy Thursdays: Revolution Night
Thursday, August 8
Swing by the Museum for this signature event from the Black Gotham Experience that brings together a DJ, gallery talks, cocktails, and a brilliant group of nerdy people.

Among His Troops: Washington's War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor
Friday, September 13
Hear the fascinating story behind the recent discovery of the only surviving wartime image of George Washington’s Headquarters Tent, examine the watercolor itself and experience the life-sized, meticulously detailed replica of Washington’s Tent—also on loan from MoAR—in our outdoor courtyard. 


Lead support for Revolutionary Summer provided by The Achelis and Bodman Foundation. Additional support provided by Richard Brown and Mary Jo Otsea. Support for the Museum of the American Revolution’s participation in Revolutionary Summer is generously provided by William and Candace Raveis, Nancy and Morris W. Offit, and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.

George Washington's Headquarters Tent replica courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution.

Creative: Tronvig Group