August 27, 2019

The British Are Coming Back! Living History Weekend Recreates the British Occupation of Philadelphia, Sept. 28-29

Two-Day Event Coincides with Opening of Special Exhibit Cost of Revolution

Neighborhood Walking Tours, Street Theater Vignettes, and Family-Friendly Activities

Did you know that in the fall of 1777, Philadelphia – the Revolutionary capital at the time – was seized by the British and occupied for nine long months, with Independence Hall serving as a prison for American prisoners-of-war? The Museum of the American Revolution will recreate the dark days of the British occupation with Occupied Philadelphia, a two-day living history event on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 – 29, 2019

Visitors will meet soldiers, civilians and spies.
Visitors will meet soldiers, civilians and spies.

Throughout the weekend, the Museum will offer guided walking tours, special programming, and family-friendly activities exploring what life was like in the city while British forces controlled it. The event coincides with the opening weekend for the Museum’s new special exhibition, Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier, which runs through March 17, 2020.

The festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the Museum’s outdoor plaza as more than 50 costumed historical interpreters gather for the unfurling of the British flag and the reading of General Howe’s proclamation declaring Philadelphia an occupied city. The interpreters will then march to their posts to the sound of fife and drums.

Visitors will meet costumed historical interpreters portraying soldiers, civilians, and spies on the Museum’s outdoor plaza, which will feature several marketplace stalls. Guests can complete a spy challenge to collect information on the British Army and watch street theater vignettes that bring to life dramatic moments from 1777.

Every half hour from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, hour-long neighborhood walking tours will depart from the Museum and include stops at City Tavern Restaurant’s back garden (138 S. 2nd St.), Franklin Court (322 Market St.), and Carpenters’ Hall (320 Chestnut St.), where the first Continental Congress met in 1774. 

The Museum's outdoor plaza will feature several marketplace stalls.
The Museum's outdoor plaza will feature several marketplace stalls.

Tickets are $12 for the tour only; for the tour with Museum admission, tickets are $29 for adults, $26 for seniors, students and military, $21 for youth, free for kids 5 and under, and can be purchased in advance here, by calling 215.253.6731, or at the front desk. (The Museum’s special exhibition Cost of Revolution is included with regular Museum admission). Outdoor activities on the Museum's plaza, Carpenter's Hall, City Tavern Restaurant, and Franklin Court are FREE and open to the public. 

In the Museum’s core galleries, guests can march into the Battlefield Theater to experience the front lines of battle during the Battle of Brandywine with rumbling floors, rising smoke, and the smell of gunpowder. The Battle, on September 11, 1777, resulted in a devastating loss for the Continental Army, leaving Philadelphia vulnerable. The British captured the city two weeks later on September 26, 1777, beginning the occupation that would last until June 1778. The galleries also include a recreation of Independence Hall when it was occupied by the British and served as a prison for Americans officers.

Throughout the weekend, guests can meet a historical interpreter portraying Richard St. George, an Irish soldier who fought with the British Army and was wounded at the Battle of Germantown during the British occupation of Philadelphia, in a 30-minute theatrical performance at 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. in Washington’s War Tent theater. St. George’s story is explored in the special exhibition Cost of Revolution.

About Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier
Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier explores the untold story of Richard St. George, an Irish soldier and artist whose personal trauma and untimely death provide a window into the entangled histories of the American Revolution and the ensuing Irish Revolution of 1798. The exhibition will chronicle St. George’s dramatic journey with more than 100 artifacts, manuscripts, and works of art from Australia, Ireland, England, and the United States, many of which will be on display in America for the first time. It will also present one of the largest collections of objects from Ireland’s 18th-century revolutionary history and war for independence ever displayed in Philadelphia. For more information, visit www.amrevmuseum.org/exhibits/special-exhibitions.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dramatic, surprising story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive digital elements bring to life the diverse array of people who created a new nation against incredible odds. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.