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Craft beer, live music and more at Beer for History

In a tavern that once welcomed George Washington, the American Independence Museum will launch the 4th Annual Beer for History on Thursday, September 26 with von Trapp Brewing from Stowe, VT.

von Trapp Brewing’s Sam von Trapp, who will be at the event on Thursday, September 26, said he is excited to once again “share their beer for history.”

“As brewers of fine craft beer, honoring our history and traditions is part of our DNA,” he said. “It is great to work with the American Independence Museum, which keeps history not only alive, but relevant for people of all ages.”

New Hampshire’s Revolutionary War Capital, Exeter is a town with a history that began to a large extent with the Gilman family, prosperous Exeter merchants linked to the fight for independence.

“We tell this story at the museum and how Exeter played a role in founding our nation,” added Stratton. “Beer for History is our way of celebrating this unique history in a fun, family-friendly way.”

Beer for History is presented by Donahue Tucker & Ciandella.

“We are thrilled to be part of this series both this year and next,” said Lizabeth MacDonald of Donahue Tucker & Ciandella. “Community and our shared history are two very important things to us, and Beer for History combines them both.”

In addition to von Trapp Brewing on Thursday, September 26, Beer for History features Throwback Brewery (10/10), Sea Dog Brewing (10/24), Tilton Brothers Brewing (11/7), and Bad Lab Beer Co. (11/21). Sea Dog Brewing will provide food at each event, which will also include colonial-inspired live music and games.

“It’s a lot of fun and a chance to experience history in an engaging way,” said Stratton. “We also have some of the best brewers involved, too…We are grateful to be involved in such a community .”


Tickets for each event are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Series tickets are $60 and $80 for members and nonmembers, respectively, while youth (under 21) are $3. Ticket prices include beer (21+), entertainment and light snacks.

The Provident Bank to sponsor Free Admission Day

Sponsored by The Provident Bank, the American Independence Museum will offer free admission on Tuesday, August 6 to residents of Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Newfields, and Stratham as well as town employees and teachers with valid ID.  

According to museum Executive Director Emma Bray, the first SAU 16 Free Admission Day sponsored by The Provident Bank  in July proved quite successful.

“We had the best Tuesday of the year,” she said. “We are working to eliminate any financial barrier whatsoever for people to visit us, so this partnership has been wonderful…We also hope these days will be used by educators and teachers, so they may better utilize us as a resource during the school year.” 

The museum’s collection includes one of only 26 surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence and two rare drafts of the U.S. Constitution.

“Our tour guides can take you on a virtual trip through Exeter and the nation,” she said. “History can be pretty fun.”

To learn more about Free Admission Day, or the museum , visit independencemuseum.org.

American Independence Museum to host 29th American Independence Festival

On Saturday, July 13, thousands will descend upon downtown Exeter, NH, former capital of the Granite State during the Revolutionary War, for the 29th Annual American Independence Festival. 

Celebrating the arrival of an original copy of the Declaration of Independence in town on July 16, 1776, the festival features a variety of entertainment, including music, battle re-enactment, tradition artisan working village and more. 

One of the festival’s most unique highlights, however, is within the museum’s Ladd-Gilman House, which will feature one of the few remaining copies of the Declaration of Independence. Its arrival in Exeter is recreated at 11 am with a horseback delivery of the document that is then read by Greg Gilman. He is the direct descendant of John Taylor Gilman, who read the Declaration of Independence to the townspeople of Exeter on July 16, 1776.

“This is a unique opportunity to participate in a recreation of a seminal point in our state’s and nation’s history,” said museum Executive Director Emma Bray.

Presented by Newburyport Bank, the festival is additionally supported by New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, RiverWoods Exeter, Ruffner Real Estate, Exeter Hospital, Historic Motor Sports, Mitchell & Monti and Proulx Oil & Propane.

“This is a wonderful community event that educates, entertains and, we hope, inspires others to learn more about our nation’s history and its continued importance today,” added Bray.

Other highlights of the festival include colonial-inspired beer brewed by Cisco in Folsom Tavern from 12 to 6 pm, a craft and art fair and local food.

Tickets for the festival, which takes place from 10 am to 4 pm, are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6 to 18, and free for children under 6 and museum members. Courtesy of Chinburg Properties, free admission is also available to active/retired military, veterans, and their immediate families. All proceeds benefit the American Independence Museum and support future festivals. 

American Independence Museum set to open, feature new exhibits in 2017

Opening on May 2 followed by an Opening Celebration on Saturday, May 6 with free admission for NH residents, the American Independence Museum in Exeter, NH has been hard at work developing a host of new exhibits for 2017.

One new exhibit, entitled “Propaganda,” will take visitors on a journey from Colonial times to the present day. Its purpose will be to illustrate the widespread use of propaganda across multiple sectors of society from as far back as the 1770’s, although its roots may be traced to the ancient world.

“The exhibit will show the evolution of propaganda until the present day—there are a lot of similarities between Colonial American and today,” said Rachel Passannante, collections and visitor services manager. “We are very excited about it.”

Presented by Optima Bank & Trust, another new exhibit will highlight 10 key items in the Museum’s collection that have not previously been viewable by the public given concerns related to their preservation. The new exhibit is made possible by a grant from the Cogswell Benevolent Trust, which awarded the Museum $6,000 to purchase two sealed microclimate cases.

“This exhibit will include handwritten letters by George Washington and a bookplate that was in his possession,” added Passannante. “These are among some of the most prized items in our collection.”

According to Executive Director Emma Bray, the new exhibits underscore the Museum’s emphasis on relevancy in 2017.

“Learning history can be engaging and fun—these are not mutually exclusive goals,” she said.

Held in conjunction with Exeter Kids’ Fest, the Museum’s Opening Celebration will feature Colonial re-enactors and period appropriate lawn games, weather permitting.

“It’s going to be a great chance to see what’s happening here this year,” Bray added. “Even if you have been here before, there are a lot of changes we hope will excite you.”

Founded in 1991, the American Independence Museum is located in Exeter, which served as New Hampshire’s capital during the Revolutionary War. Home to a world-class collection, including an extremely rare copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Museum welcomes more than 5,500 visitors annually and distinguishes itself with school programs and events that make history fun and relevant.

The Museum opens for the 2017 season on Tuesday, May 2 and will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm through December 1.