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December 2009

Support the Museum of the American Revolution

December 7, 2009

Dear Friend:

It is hard to believe that America's War of Independence ended 226 years ago, yet there is still no national museum that tells the epic struggle that forged our Nation. I'm sure you will agree that such a museum is long overdue.

Together, we have the extraordinary opportunity to build the first national museum to tell the entire story of the American Revolution and its enduring legacy. This museum—The Museum of the American Revolution—will be a living memorial to those who sacrificed so that we might be free.

Located in historic Philadelphia, just steps away from Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the First and Second Banks of the United States, Carpenters Hall and Christ Church, the Museum will house The American Revolution Center's distinguished collection of Revolutionary-era objects, artifacts, art, manuscripts and rare books. These authentic witnesses to our Nation's birth will bring the extraordinary stories of the entire Revolutionary generation to life in engaging, accessible and interactive exhibits and educational programs.

We are inviting you to be part of this historic cause which will honor our Revolutionary forbearers.

A gift to The American Revolution Center will support planning for the new Museum as well as our ongoing activities, some of which are described in this newsletter. You may be particularly interested in the article about our recent national survey of adult Americans and their interest in and knowledge of the American Revolution and its enduring legacy. The results demonstrate that the need is great and the time is now for The Museum of the American Revolution. To make a gift, please click here.

Together, we can ensure that rising generations will be inspired to pass on the torch of liberty that was first lit over two and a quarter centuries ago.

Sincerely,

Bruce Cole Signature

Bruce Cole

President and CEO

The American Revolution Center is a 501(c)(3) organization and your donation is tax-deductible. Official registration and financial information for The American Revolution Center may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll free within Pennsylvania, 800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

In this Issue

A Message From Bruce Cole

Advancing the Cause

In the News

From the Collection

Community Notes

Support the Glorious Cause

Board of Directors

The American Revolution Center has made great progress over the past year. Under the leadership of our Chairman, H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, and with the support of our generous donors, Board and staff have forged a new and defining chapter in our organization's history. We have taken major steps toward our plans to build The Museum of the American Revolution, our nation's first museum commemorating the entire story of the American Revolution.

In late June 2009, The American Revolution Center signed an historic land exchange agreement with the National Park Service, whereby our 78-acres of land in Valley Forge would be exchanged for a parcel of land at Third and Chestnut Streets within Independence National Historical Park. The news of our move was received with enthusiasm among our many supporters and among our new neighbors. We have since been working collaboratively with the National Park Service to move forward with the land exchange process.

In addition, we welcomed five new members to our Board of Directors; launched a new website; conducted a national survey; and conserved several of the national treasures in our collection. We end this year with the closure of our office in Wayne, PA, and begin the new year with an office in the Bourse Building in historic Philadelphia. You will read more about these and other new developments in this edition of Revolutionary Chronicle.

As we enter this season of giving, we remember the Revolutionary generation who sacrificed everything so that we may live in freedom. Working together, we will honor those great patriots with a living memorial deserving of their glorious cause--The Museum of the American Revolution. Thank you for your continued interest and support of The American Revolution Center.

Sincerely Yours,

Bruce Cole Signature

Bruce Cole

President and CEO

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TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH TIME

Thanks to The Lehrman Institute and the Hertog Foundation, The American Revolution Center has produced a dynamic new website that connects visitors to our collection, educational resources, and information about our cause.

Website Homepage

Website Timeline

The site hosts several interactive features, including a timeline of objects from our collection that visitors can virtually "handle" as they explore each high-resolution image. Visitors can also watch videos about many of the objects, learning more about their history and significance. In addition, through the site's Education page, visitors can take a short quiz, search lesson plans, and link to over 70 websites that host content on the American Revolution.

The site was developed by Bluecadet Interactive, an award-winning creative firm in Philadelphia. The website is intended to engage teachers, students, and the general public in the history and ongoing significance of the American Revolution. In support of this mission, Frank P. Trotta, Jr., President of The Lehrman Institute, noted: "The stylishly designed site of The American Revolution Center promises to give students and patriots a unique way to join the War for Independence."

The American Revolution Center will continue to provide mission-based programming through lectures, special exhibitions, and on-line resources as work to establish The Museum of the American Revolution in historic Philadelphia. As Roger Hertog, President of the Hertog Foundation, has said, "I can't think of an organization that would be more important in this day and age than a Center devoted to the study of the American Revolution - not the study of any particular battle or individual, but the study of the Revolution as a whole."

Please visit www.AmericanRevolutionCenter.org to become a virtual visitor. The site will be updated regularly, so visit often!

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Nationwide Survey Released on Knowledge of the American Revolution and Its Enduring Legacy

The American Revolution. Who Cares?Who cares about the American Revolution and why should something that happened 200 years ago matter today? These are among the questions raised by the first national survey of adult knowledge of the American Revolution, sponsored by The American Revolution Center. The survey reveals that Americans highly value, but vastly overrate, their knowledge of the Revolutionary period and its ongoing significance. In fact, despite near universal agreement on the importance of this knowledge, 83% failed to correctly answer questions about key documents, events, people and ideas from the revolutionary period. However, 90% think it is important for Americans to know the history and principles of the American Revolution. These results demonstrate the need for additional resources on this important topic. Respondents were asked 27 multiple-choice questions to gauge their knowledge of our nation's Founding history and principles. A few contemporary questions were included in the survey in an attempt to understand the disparity in knowledge of popular culture and knowledge of issues pertaining to the revolutionary period. Among the findings:

  • Especially notable at a time when thousands of political protesters hold "tea parties" around the nation, more than half of Americans do not know that the outcome of the Boston Tea Party was not a repeal of taxes, but rather that it prompted British actions that ignited American patriotism and sparked the Revolution.
  • In spite of pledging allegiance to "the republic for which it stands," equal numbers of American adults surveyed mistakenly believe the Constitution established a government of direct democracy, rather than a democratic republic. This basic fact is included on the naturalization exam for immigrants to qualify for U.S. citizenship, yet more than half of the Americans polled do not know it.
  • Many more Americans remember that Michael Jackson sang "Beat It" than know that the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution. The survey results are alarming. Knowledge of our nation's founding principles enables us to perpetuate "the blessings of liberty" by participating wisely in self-government; appreciating that freedom is not free, nor certain; understanding our nation's historical global context; embracing principled debate; and committing to the quest for freedom and equal rights.

The research was conducted in July of 2009, using telephone interviews of a random sample of 1,001 adults aged 18 and older, male and female, from all regions of the United States, spanning various income levels, education, and political affiliations. The survey was developed with the assistance of notable authorities on the American Revolution under the guidance of Kenneth Dautrich, Ph.D., founder and former director of the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut, and administered by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, a research-based communications firm. The survey was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Gilder Foundation and the Honorable Edward N. Ney. To learn more about the survey, please visit www.AmericanRevolutionCenter.org.

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Theater in Revolutionary Philadelphia

In 1784, following a decade of war and upheaval, Philadelphia printer Thomas Bradford issued this folded sheet of patriotic song lyrics. This marked the return of Lewis Hallam, Jr.'s American Company to Philadelphia. Hallam had first performed in Philadelphia in the 1750s as part of his parent's troupe of English actors, who established the first permanent theatre in Pennsylvania. The Hallam Company, later the American Company, performed in New York, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Charleston and Jamaica during the two decades preceding the American Revolution.

Philadelphia Theater Program, 1784
Philadelphia Theater Program, 1784

Many American revolutionaries considered theatrical performances, games of chance and other entertainments to be a sign of British corruption and luxury. In October 1774, the First Continental Congress passed a resolution strongly discouraging "every species of extravagance and dissipation" including horse races, gaming and "exhibitions of shews, plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments." Hallam's troupe spent the war years in the British West Indies, returning to Philadelphia following the return of peace in 1783. Performances such as the Monody in Honor of the Chiefs Who Have Fallen in the Cause of American Liberty resumed in the 1780s, leading to the reestablishment of theater in Philadelphia. This rare copy of Hallam's Monody is one of the many treasures owned by The American Revolution Center, and will be shown in its new Museum.

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Community Notes…

On August 14, Dr. Cole spoke at the JACK MILLER CENTER SUMMER INSTITUTE at St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Jack Miller Center (JMC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, educational organization dedicated to enriching education in America's founding principles and history. Headquartered just outside of Philadelphia, JMC provides resources to a network of college professors who want to expand opportunities for their students to learn about American history, government, and political thought. Each year and at varying locations, the Miller Summer Institute brings together young scholars in the humanities and social sciences whose work focuses on the founding principles of America and the West. As part of the week-long event, Dr. Cole spoke about the American Revolution Center and the importance of commemorating the entire story of the American Revolution through the new Museum of the American Revolution.

Dr. Cole at the Jack Miller Center Summer Institute
Dr. Cole at the Jack Miller Center Summer Institute

On September 28, Dr. Cole was interviewed for MOUNT VERNON'S DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM broadcast titled First in War: George Washington and the American Revolution. The broadcast aired on Thursday, October 29 for view by millions of students across the country. Dr. Cole discussed how General Washington's leadership, character, and perseverance were instrumental in securing American independence. The broadcast also featured a distinguished panel of historians who explored Washington's relationship with his generals as well as the common soldier, the British perspective of the war, the turning point at Valley Forge, and the quelling of a rebellion at Newburgh.

On October 2, Dr. Cole delivered a keynote address at the annual meeting of THE STATE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI OF PENNSYLVANIA. The Society of the Cincinnati is a patriotic, historical and educational organization dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the American Revolution. Founded at the close of the Revolutionary War by the officers of the Continental line and their French counterparts, it is the oldest military hereditary society in America. Dr. Cole discussed the significance of The American Revolution Center's move to historic Philadelphia, and recognized the contributions of the Society in preserving the memory of the American Revolution and its ongoing legacy.

On October 30, at the invitation of The American Revolution Center's Board member Richard Dietrich, Dr. Cole addressed members of the PHILADELPHIA CLUB to share his vision for establishing the first national museum dedicated to telling the entire story of the American Revolution. The Center's Director of Collections and Interpretation, Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, provided a brief, illustrated overview of highlights from the collection, which will be on exhibit in the new museum.

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On June 16, 1775, George Washington wrote to the Second Continental Congress, accepting — reluctantly — their appointment as Commander of the Continental Army, agreeing to "enter upon the momentous duty… in the service… of the glorious cause."

Today we invite you to support our "Glorious Cause"—a Museum that honors the sacrifices and legacy of this Revolutionary Generation. The Museum of the American Revolution will honor the sacrifices of past generations, while engaging rising generations in the ongoing story that is America's democracy.

We are grateful to the thousands of donors throughout the country, who have supported us through our outreach efforts. We also thank the many volunteers who have supported our cause this year, particularly our Community Advisory Board, in addition to our Board of Directors. Should you wish to make a tax deductible contribution, you may do so on our website, www.AmericanRevolutionCenter.org/support. Contributions can also be mailed to:

  • The Bourse Building
  • Suite 835
  • 111 Independence Mall East
  • Philadelphia, PA 19106

We Salute Our 2009 Donors ($500 or More)*

David Acton

Carl Buchholz

Mindy Berry

Boeing Charitable Trust

George Bermant

Josiah Bunting

Harold Burson

Captain J.A. Carlton, USN (Ret.)

Richard E. Caruso

Bruce Cole

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Crawford

H. Richard Dietrich III

Margaret Pace (Peggy) Duckett

Lawrence Garcia

Gilder Foundation

Guggenheim Foundation

Hertog Foundation, Inc.

Richard Koch

H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest

Jeanne Lyons

Lehrman Institute (The)

Richard Lounsbery Foundation

Barbara Mitnick

Robert Moretti

Honorable Edward N. Ney

Oxford Area Foundation

Thomas N. Pappas

Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard

Robert Perkin

Arthur Powell

Bob & Barbara Safford

Robert H. Smith

Martha Snider

R. Scott Stephenson

Kenneth S. Sweet

Joseph Tubman

2009 In-Kind Donations of $5,000 or More*

Alteva

Ballard Spahr

Balmori Associates

Blank Rome

Bluecadet Interactive

Mary and Michael Hagy

Pennoni Associates

Robert A.M. Stern

*As of November 30, 2009

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H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, Chairman

David Acton

Herman O. Benninghoff, II

Carl M. Buchholz

Josiah Bunting

Harold Burson

H. Richard Dietrich III

Margaret (Peggy) Pace Duckett

Adrian R. King, Jr.

Christopher Matthews

Barbara Mitnick

Thomas N. Pappas

Arthur L. Powell

Robert O. Safford

Kenneth S. Sweet, Jr.

Jide J. Zeitlin

Ex Officio

Bruce M. Cole

Martha McGeary Snider

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