Summer of Hamilton

July/August 2016

Summer of Hamilton was a museum-wide celebration of the life and remarkable achievements of the man who played a leading role in the Revolutionary War and the early years of the founding of the United States.

Kicked off by a special Fourth of July event, the summer-long festivities included lectures, scavenger hunts, and trivia nights as well as a free film series showcasing musicals that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton and live performances of the infamous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Additionally, Summer of Hamilton welcomed families for kid-friendly living history programs, educator-led tours, and a special Hamilton-themed Camp History.

Objects & Artifacts
In addition to programming, a variety of Hamilton objects were on view throughout the summer, such as life-size bronze statues depicting Hamilton and Burr in the midst of their deadly duel; the monumental tall case clock presented by Hamilton in 1797 to the Bank of New York; and Hamilton’s desk, at which the prolific writer penned his correspondence, on loan from the Museum of the City of New York.

Replicas of the dueling pistols used by Hamilton and Burr, on loan from the JPMorgan Chase Historical Collection, continue to be exhibited as part of New York Rising, a permanent installation in Smith Gallery that illustrates New York’s critical contribution to the founding of the U.S. The installation also features the marble cenotaph marking where Hamilton was wounded; a bust of Hamilton by Giuseppe Ceracchi depicting him in the guise of a Roman Senator; a gold mourning ring set with a lock of Hamilton’s hair that Elizabeth Hamilton gave to Nathaniel Pendleton, Hamilton’s second in the duel; portraits of Aaron Burr and his gifted daughter Theodosia Burr painted by John Vanderlyn; and Burr’s death mask.

An exhibition case curated by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History displayed key documents from Hamilton’s life, including the infamous pamphlet admitting to his affair with Maria Reynolds; his famous “nut brown maid” love letter to his fiancée, Elizabeth Schuyler and a letter supporting Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr in the Election of 1800, which stated “In a choice of Evils let them take the least―Jefferson is in every view less dangerous than Burr.”

In the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, documents from New-York Historical’s collection helped answer the question posed in the musical―“who tells your story”―by focusing on Hamilton’s relationships with other Founding Fathers and his widow’s attempt to secure his place in history.

Many objects and documents on display during Summer of Hamilton will continue to be displayed in the Library and Museum through fall/winter 2016. Learn more here.

Creative: Tronvig Group