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We have more than 3,000 objects, including paintings, furnishings, documents, and books centered on the period of the American Revolution. The Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Hampshire began collecting objects and documents after they bought the Ladd-Gilman House more than 100 years ago. Today, this outstanding collection is available to visitors to the American Independence Museum.

Upcoming Programs

AIM is part of the New Hampshire History Network, an online resource that provides access to New Hampshire’s history and historical collections through partnerships with local museums, historical societies, and other institutions.  You can now search a limited amount of objects from the American Independence Museum’s collection from anywhere in the world.  Click here to be brought to their website!

We are open to the public Tuesday – Saturday, May – November.  The Library and the Archives are open to researchers by appointment only.  

Images of items in our historical collection are provided at the discretion of the American Independence Museum for personal use, research, and reproduction for purposes relevant to our mission.  Please click here to view a PDF of our Request for Photo Publication form or contact us at (603)772-2622

Interested in donating or gifting an object to the museum? Please click here to open a PDF that will ask a few questions about the object you wish to donate.  This document will help our staff and Collections Committee make a decision on the possible acceptance of the object.  

2020 “Digital” Exhibits

Dunlap Broadside History
Commemoration and Memorialization


These are just some highlights from our collection.

The first printing of the Declaration of Independence, printed July 4 1776 by John Dunlap in Philadelphia. The Museum’s broadside was found in 1985 in the attic of the Ladd-Gilman House. Today, the American Independence Museum owns one of the 26 surviving Dunlap Broadsides.
Nicholas Gilman and Rufus King were members of Congress during the writing of the Constitution. Gilman and his Committee took notes and made changes to the seven page draft, with King and his Committee examined a later draft and made a few more edits. These drafts show the remarkable work that went into creating the final version of the U.S. Constitution.
To appoint men to higher ranking positions in the army, commissions such as this were often written up by the Colonies with the person, their position, and their unit. Here, Governor John Hancock appoints Thomas Ferring of Hingham to serve as Captain in the Suffolk County Militia, under the command of Col. Charles Cushing. The document is signed Hancock in the lower right hand corner.
Porringers were used to hold porridge or meat, often given as gifts at weddings or the christening of a child. A majority of porringers found are made with pewter, a mixture of lead and tin. This porringer, though, is made out of silver, and was most likely a wedding gift to John Taylor Gilman and Deborah Folsom, who married in 1775.
An Iron Strongbox was used to secure valuables, and would have been used by the Gilman family to secure the State’s currency. There is a complex locking mechanism just under the lid that has its key hole on the top of the lid. For extra security it would have been bolted to the floor.
Considered the early form of the shotgun, the blunderbuss is a sidearm best used for short range targets. The term “blunderbuss” is of Dutch origin, from the word “donderbus,” which means “thunder pipe.” Blunderbuss’s were often issued to troops such as cavalry and naval officers, who needed a lightweight and easily-handled weapon.
Tall clocks were a common item in wealthy Colonial American homes. These clocks had to be wound in order to run and tell the day of the week as well as the time. This tall clock once belonged to Major Jeremiah Fogg who fought through the entirety of the Revolution. After the war, Fogg returned to Kensington and remained active in politics, serving in the NH Senate. He was also one of the original members of the Society of the Cincinnati.
After the Boston Massacre, a trial of the British soldiers arrested for their actions commenced on November 27, 1770. Transcripts of the trial were taken in shorthand by John Hodgson, printed in Boston by J.Fleeming, and published for the Colonists to read. This is a first edition of the published book.

Collection Inquiry


1 Governor’s Lane
Exeter, NH 03833
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Museum Hours

May – November
Tues – Sat : 10am – 4pm
Sun & Mon : Closed

Contact Us

(603) 772-2622
[email protected]


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