Although little more than swampland during the Revolution, today, Washington DC contains numerous museums, memorials and other reminders of the Revolution. Below is a short list of some revolutionary highlights found within the District of Columbia.
The National Museum of American History is one of the Smithsonian museums, and contains numerous artifacts relating to the Revolution. Highlights include George Washington’s uniform, Thomas Jefferson’s desk on which he wrote the Declaration of Independence, and many more.
The National Archives contain the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and many other historical documents. The Archives are also a great source for genealogical research.
The Library of Congress holds numerous documents relating to the revolution. Rotating exhibits often contain some of these documents. Within the collection is Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence.
The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with the American Revolution, including manuscripts, broadsides, government documents, books, and maps. Click here to visit the Library of Congress digital Guide to the American Revolution.
The National Portrait Gallery contains numerous paintings of patriots of the Revolution. Gilbert Stuart’s “Lansdowne Portrait” of George Washington is located here. To see some of the portraits included in the collection, visit the Gallery’s highlights of Signers and Patriots.
The National Gallery contains some of the finest examples of revolutionary era painters. Numerous works by Gilbert Stuart’s, “The Father of American Portraiture” can be seen here.
The DAR museum showcases the furnishings and decorative arts of pre-industrial America with permanent and changing exhibitions in two galleries.
The DAR Library is a tremendous source for genealogists.
The Anderson House is home to the Society of the Cincinnati’s collection of revolutionary era works of art, armaments, and personal artifacts. Additionally, the collection includes several personal effects of George Washington.The Anderson House also contains the Society of the Cincinnati Library which contains printed and manuscript materials relating to the military and naval history of the eighteenth century with a particular concentration on the people and events of the American Revolution.
Dedicated in 1976, Constitution Gardens serves as an oasis within the bustling city for visitors, residents and wildlife. A memorial island in the middle of an artificial lake has stones bearing the names and signatures of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence. Their pledge to freedom exists as a living tribute within this natural setting celebrating the U.S. Constitution.
The grave of Elbridge Gerry, the only Signer of the Declaration of Independence buried in D.C. is located here, as are those of 16 Revolutionary War soldiers and countless other patriots of the Revolution.
DCSSAR organizes an annual commemoration of Gerry and the other Signers at his grave site on Independence Day.