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In recent years, the American Independence Museum has made an effort to develop programs and events that relate to a modern audience, which is reflected in its selection of Civic Engagement as its 2019 theme.

“What is civic engagement and what does that look like for someone in our community?” rhetorically noted Emma Bray, executive director at the museum. “In this current political climate, I cannot think of a more responsible or relevant question to ask ourselves.”

In addition to developing exhibitions and events throughout the year that touch on this theme, the museum will also partner with organizations and entities whose mission reflects this theme.

On Wednesday, January 30 at 7PM at the Congregational Church in Exeter, the museum and ‘We the People’ will co-host a free panel discussion, “Our Social Contract: Civic Engagement in a Modern Democracy.”

Featuring panelists from academia, secondary education, the media, new citizen support services, and voter information and advocacy, the discussion will explore many subjects that relate to civic engagement.The panel will be moderated by Wayne L’Esperance, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at New England College.

The panel is presented by ‘We the People,’ a free lecture and film series exploring issues that intersect with current events, ethics and religion. ‘We the People’ is co-sponsored by the Congregational, Episcopal and Unitarian Universalist churches of Exeter in association with Phillips Exeter Academy and Water Street Bookstore. 

“It is important we collaborate with others to promote and discuss this theme, which really hits at the heart of who we are as Americans,” added Bray.

For more information about We the People, visit, or call (603) 475-2143.

Founded in 1991 in downtown Exeter, the American Independence Museum features more than 3,000 items in its collection, including one of only 26 surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence.