6. Exhibitions

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has five traveling exhibitions and more than fifty online exhibitions that cover American history from the colonial era to the present day. The selection below explores the Declaration of Independence, other important documents in American history, and people and events of the founding era.

Traveling Exhibitions

Freedom: A History of US

The Declaration of Independence inspired people and documents throughout American history. This traveling exhibition documents and illustrates critical figures and events while tracing the evolving concept of freedom from founding until 1968. Among the highlights are a rare 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence, a printed draft and the official copy of the US Constitution, Lincoln’s handwritten notes for speeches, and letters by leading figures such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King Jr. This exhibition is available to rent or purchase.

Alexander Hamilton: Immigrant, Patriot, Visionary

This exhibition examines Hamilton’s central role during the Revolutionary War and founding period in creating the economic, constitutional, social, journalistic, political, and foreign policy templates for modern America. Using reproductions from the Gilder Lehrman Collection and the Library of the New-York Historical Society, and drawing on recent scholarship about Alexander Hamilton, this traveling exhibition helps students learn that Hamilton was a statesman and visionary whose life shaped the America we live in more than two hundred years after his death. This exhibition is available to rent or purchase.

Becoming the United States

This exhibition, designed especially for upper elementary school students, explores individuals, groups, and documents that have contributed to who we are as a country. Aligning with the elementary curriculum, the story begins in the colonial era with the first interactions between American Indians, Europeans, and Africans and ends with the Reconstruction of the United States after the Civil War. This exhibition is available to rent or purchase.

Online Exhibitions

Timeline: The American Revolution

Explore twenty years of American history through primary sources and short videos with this interactive timeline. It starts the story of the American Revolution in 1763 with Britain’s victory over France in the imperial struggle for North America. It chronicles the conflicts between the British government, the North American colonists, and American Indians, and culminates in the creation of a new nation, the United States, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the United States

The first generation of American statesmen—among them Alexander Hamilton—took on the responsibility of building the institutional foundations of the United States after the American Revolution. This two-tier timeline examines Hamilton’s life and the major events of the founding era together.