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Museum looks to partner with sponsors for Traveling Trunk program

Educating nearly 1,600 students of varying ages in 2016, the American Independence Museum is beefing up its educational offerings with the recently launched ‘Traveling Trunk’ program. Based around several possible lesson plans for teachers to use, the program is funded in part by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Complete with replica period clothing, toys, historical artifacts, and more, each of the Museum’s two trunks will feature more than 70 items. The goal of the program is to help children better understand the importance of the Revolutionary War and its direct relationship to Americans today.

“While the curriculum is designed with middle school students in mind, teachers can easily adapt it to fit younger or older students,” said Education Manager Abigail Pietrantonio.”

Expressing hope that she can also teach in the classroom, Pietrantonio said she looks forward to helping make history relevant for today’s students. “Historical knowledge is important for today’s student,” she added.

According to the Museum’s Rob Levey, the key now is to engage corporate sponsors.

“We know school budgets are tight—and for a very nominal investment by sponsors, we can deliver a unique educational experience for students across the state,” he said. “Abby has done a remarkable job researching and developing the curriculum.”

According to Pietrantonio, she has already received numerous calls from teachers about the program.

“There is certainly interest in it,” she added. “With support, I know we can get this program into the classroom and provide an educational experience that is fun and unique.”

To learn more about the program or the Museum’s many educational offerings for school children, contact Pietrantonio at or visit

Sponsors help American Independence Museum finish a strong 2016 season

Sponsors help American Independence Museum finish a strong 2016 season

The last visitors have made their way through the rooms at the American Independence Museum this year with last week’s Holiday Celebration serving as the capstone event for 2016. This year, more than two dozen corporate sponsors supported the operations at the Museum. Major sponsors included Two International Group, AutoFair, Geico Service Credit Union, Hoefle Phoenix Gormley & Roberts, P.A. Attorneys at Law and Ruffner Real Estate.

“These organizations and so many others have played a vital role in our continued efforts to sustainably care for our collection and develop innovative programs for kids through our school programs,” said Museum Executive Director Julie Williams.

Citing substantial costs associated with caring for its collection, Williams said 2017 represents a “watershed year” for its operations.

“To ensure our sustainability and value to the surrounding communities, we are looking to expand our community outreach and deliver outstanding educational programming,” she said.

“We are also working with grant funders and other partners to develop a sustainability plan whereby we can modify the internal environment within which our collection is housed,” she said. “We have a responsibility to make sure the items in our possession may be enjoyed for generations to come.”

She cited the Museum’s recent Holiday Celebration as anecdotal evidence that Exeter and the surrounding towns see value in its operations and role as a hub for the larger Seacoast community.

“We had more than 200 visitors, which pushed our attendance for the year to over 5,000 people,” said Williams, who said Neighborhood Beer Co.’s continued support made a difference, too.

“People love those guys and their beer, which makes it so much fun to collaborate,” she added. “In total, we raised nearly $3,000—it was a huge night for us.”

Comprising the Ladd-Gilman House (c.1721) and Folsom Tavern (c.1775) on more than one acre of landscaped property, the Museum hosts public and educational programs and lectures, colonial artisan demonstrations, guided tours, and special events. The Museum is also part of the “Experience New Hampshire Heritage: The Portsmouth to Plymouth Museum Trail.”

For more information about the Museum’s year-end Fund-A Need campaign, visit