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NEW YORK, NY - History comes to life for the whole family at the New-York Historical Society in celebration of the 250th birthday of our French Founding Father - Lafayette.
An engaging, uplifting, interactive exhibition, French Founding Father: Lafayette's Return to Washington's America allows people of all ages to see, touch and experience history. Start by picking up a free brochure filled with fun activities for kids to complete as they go through the exhibition.
Don't miss the fireworks display in the Great Hall in front of the mural recreating the hero's welcome Lafayette received upon his arrival in New York. Kids will recognize in the mural the harbor of today's New York and the round building of Castle Clinton that still stands in Battery Park, near where the Statue of Liberty Tour boats debark. In that very place over 6,000 elegantly dressed guests danced the night away to welcome the aging hero.
As you progress upstairs, listen to celebratory band music by Francis Johnson, a black composer who was the first major bandleader in the U.S. On the second floor galleries, stand in front of one of the kiosks and make your own toast to Lafayette, just as New Yorkers did long ago. As you do, try to imagine how our country looked to a foreigner then, and how an aristocratic Frenchman appeared to people born in the frontier lands hunted by Daniel Boone.
Visitors can put Lafayette's life in historical context on the Lower Level galleries. Watch a video about the French Revolution and see for yourself how different the American revolutionary Lafayette was from the later French revolutionary and general. See a model of the guillotine that had beheaded King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette--a scary symbol of what went wrong with the French Revolution.
Lafayette put aside his bloody memories of the French Revolution when he toured all 24 of growing America's states upon his return. In steamboats, sailboats, canal barges and carriages, Lafayette floated and jolted his way through 6,000 miles of the young republic, sleeping in 167 beds on his way. You can marvel at the light and fast willow carriage Lafayette actually rode in from New Hampshire to Vermont.Then pop your very own face into a life-size cut-out and see how you would look in the yards of clothes and formal hats people wore to welcome Lafayette in 1824.
On weekends, the New York Historical Society recreates the world of Revolutionary America.Beginning November 17, New-York Historical Society hosts reenactment troops. Learn firsthand what it was like to be a soldier during the American Revolution and talk to members of the Colonial, French, British and Hessian armies.On selected dates, actors portraying George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, Ben Franklin and otherRevolutionary heroes!
Opening Living History Day
French Founding Father, Saturday, November 17
Meet the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Benedict
Arnold and Ned Hector, an African-American Revolutionary hero, and enjoy
storytelling performances by the Hudson River Ramblers. Colonial, British and
French troops will be stationed at the Society during the celebration.
Thanksgiving Holiday Living History Days
November 23 & 24
On the 23rd, celebrate the music of Francis Johnson, a 19th-century African-
American composer, performed by Members of the Rodney Mack Philadelphia
Big Brass. Lafayette, Washington and Hector return with British troops. On the
24th, John Doughty's Continental troops will mix with Revolutionary heroes and
the Hudson River Ramblers.
Presidents' Day & Washington's
Birthday Living History Days, February 16 & 23
On the 16th, celebrate Black History Month with members of the 1st Rhode
Island Regiment, the first all-black regiment in the United States. On the 23rd, a
special performance by Members of the Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass will
be joined by Revolutionary hero Ned Hector and The Royal Welch Soldiers.
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