December 15, 2017

What Was Philadelphia Like During the American Revolution? Explore 18th-Century Life During Winter Break

PHILADELPHIA, DEC. 14. 2017 – How did people who lived right here in Philadelphia during the American Revolution spend long winter days? During Winter Break, the Museum of the American Revolution will explore the crafts, trades, and skills of Philadelphians during the 18th century – and invite visitors to try their hand at early American pastimes. 

Everyday at 11 a.m. from Sunday, Dec. 24 – Monday, Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25), visitors can participate in demonstrations of activities that would have taken place in the Museum’s neighborhood during the Revolutionary era, from fencing to shoemaking and more. From Dec. 28 – Dec. 30., visitors can enjoy performances by musician and storyteller Robert Mouland in the Museum’s Oneida Indian Nation Atrium from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Throughout the weekend, visitors can pose with props in front of a large reproduction of Emanuel Leutze’s iconic painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and re-create their own Revolutionary moment. The painting depicts General George Washington’s Dec. 25 crossing the Delaware River from Pennsylvania to New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.

Daily Demonstrations from 11 a.m. - Noon

  • Sunday, Dec. 24: “Women at War” invites visitors to learn about learn about Revolutionary women who sewed flags, rolled cartridges, and even went to war themselves. A costumed historical interpreter will demonstrate cartridge-rolling and flagmaking for visitors. 
  • Tuesday Dec. 26: “Clothing the Army” offers visitors a chance to stitch a uniform meant for a Continental soldier and learn about the trade of tailoring during the Revolution.
  • Wednesday Dec. 27: “If the Shoe Fits” will follow in the footsteps of an artificer who will demonstrate the process of shoe-making for the Revolutionary army.
  • Thursday, Dec. 28: During “Camp Followers,” learn how women and children took risks to accompany Revolutionary armies as camp followers. If you decided to pack up your household to follow the army, what items would you leave behind? Test how many “essentials” women could carry in their knapsacks and market wallets during their wartime travels.
  • Friday, Dec. 29: “The Art of Fencing” will introduce visitors to basic fencing skills that were used in Revolutionary-era times. Learn about two fencers who would have lived in the neighborhood during the early Republic.
  • Saturday, Dec. 30: “Forged in Philadelphia” showcases the skills that went into making a Revolutionary firearm. Visitors can take a closer look at a reproduction weapon and learn about a blacksmith business.
  • Sunday, Dec. 31: An educator will discuss the inventions of Philadelphia artist Charles Willson Peale, whose window illuminations inspired the ones on display at the Museum. Kids can create their own ornament-sized illumination craft in Patriots Gallery on Saturdays and Sundays in December from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

At 2 p.m. each day, guests are invited to an illustrated talk in Liberty Hall about the archaeological excavation of the Museum’s site prior to construction of the building. The nearly 85,000 artifacts uncovered during that excavation provided a rare opportunity to examine the things left behind by the people who lived and worked there. At an archaeological conservation station on Dec. 26 and 29, visitors can get a closer look at objects from the excavation.

From 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery, kids of all ages can try on Revolutionary-inspired clothing, design a flag, decode secret messages, and practice drilling like a Revolutionary soldier. Kids can also color their own eagle-shaped pendant to wear, based on George Washington’s Diamond Eagle, which is on loan to the Museum from the Society of the Cincinnati through March 3.

The Museum will remain open until 6 p.m. from Dec. 26 – 31. The Museum will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Winter Break programs are all free with Museum admission. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 215.253.6731.

About the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, Carpenters’ Hall, and Franklin Court, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit or call 877.740.1776.