Exhibition Includes Original Copy of New York’s First Constitution, George Washington’s Ceremonial Sword, Marquis de Lafayette’s Pistol and the Benedict Arnold Treason Papers
Albany, NY (July 2, 2012)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of a new exhibit in the State Capitol, starting July 4th that will highlight New York’s role during the American Revolution.
This exhibit is part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to highlight New York's history at the Capitol, which began earlier this year with the restoration of the Hall of Governors, the Black History Month and Women’s History Month exhibits, and a display honoring New York’s service men and women for Memorial Day.
"New York has a rich history and this exhibit is part of our effort to teach younger generations about the state's past and the important role that it played in our nation's founding," said Governor Cuomo. "I encourage all New Yorkers to visit the Independence Day Exhibition at the Capitol as the nation celebrates America’s 236th birthday."
The exhibition will open on July 4th and remain on display throughout the month of July. In addition, there will be a special exhibit featuring George Washington’s ceremonial sword and Marquis De Lafayette’s pistol from July 4th to July 6th. The State Capitol will be open from 2 to 8 PM on July 4th. The exhibit includes items from the New York State Library, New York State Archives, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and the State Education Department. This will be the first time that these agencies’ and non-profit’s Revolutionary War era artifacts will be on display together.
The Independence Day exhibit is part of the Governor’s ongoing initiative to restore the Capitol and publically display artifacts, documents and items that are significant to New York’s history. The exhibit will open on July 4th, in time for visitors to come and see the display, while also visiting other sites open on the Plaza and the State Museum. This will be the first time that the Capitol is open to display an exhibit as part of the State’s other 4th of July celebration activities.
New York was the sight of significant action during the Revolutionary War. Instrumental battles at Ft. Ticonderoga and Saratoga helped secure America’s victory against the British. It was also where America suffered one of its gravest defeats, when British forces overwhelmed Washington’s army and forced him to abandon New York City. Other battles occurred throughout the State, making it one of the most strategically important areas of the entire War.
In addition to the State’s military history, New York was home to several people who helped found the country’s fledgling government. Philip Schuyler, a Continental Army general, also served in the Continental Congress. John Jay and Alexander Hamilton played critical roles in the drafting of the Constitution and promoting its ratification. The State’s first governor, George Clinton, was a leading advocate for the drafting of a bill of rights and his work on its behalf helped secure the ratification of the first ten amendments.
New York was also the scene of the worst betrayal of the Revolutionary War. Major General Benedict Arnold attempted to surrender West Point to the British in return for a commission in the Royal Army and a pension. His plan was discovered when his British contact, Major John Andre, was captured with Arnold’s written plans to surrender the Fort. Arnold fled New York and would later die a disgraced person in London.
- Portrait of George Washington
- Portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette
- George Washington’s ceremonial sword
- Pistol given to Washington by Lafayette
- Revolutionary War Musket
- Revolutionary War soldier’s kit, including haversack, ammunition, powder horn and canteen
- 1775 General Association document
- Poughkeepsie Journal
- Fragment of letter from George Washington to Governor George Clinton
- Original copy of the State’s first Constitution
- Benedict Arnold treason papers
Objects on display include:
Information on other American Revolutionary War sites of interest in New York State can be found on the Governor’s website at www.NY4thofJuly.com.