Museum of American Revolution celebrates women's history

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Museum of American Revolution celebrates women's history. Karen Rogers reports during Action News Mornings on March 18, 2018. (WPVI)

March is Women's History Month and, to celebrate, the Museum of the American Revolution is highlighting the role of women in the Revolutionary War, highlighting little-known personal stories, struggles, and victories of women in the late 18th century.

"In the Revolution, women don't get enough credit," says Mark Turdo, Curator of the Museum of the American Revolution.

From supplying the Army with resources to being caretakers on the battlefields, Turdo says, women were very much involved in America's battle for independence, "almost everything we know about women in the period comes from where you would expect: letters, diaries, observations."

Museum-goers can revisit 18th century Boston with a full-scale replica of the Liberty Tree and learn the story of political writer, Mercy Otis Warren.

"She wrote poems and plays basically saying Britain didn't have the right to involve themselves in American politics, and she's doing this before the Revolution," marvels Turdo.

He also points to the story of Phillis Wheatley, the first published African-American female poet.
She was enslaved by a New England family who educated and encouraged her poetry once they saw her talent.

"She's writing about the fact that African Americans have a mind and will," says Turdo, who adds the museum has a signed copy of her published book, Poems on Various Subjects.

"In publishing that in 1773, it challenges people's views of what an African American can do," Turdo claims.

You can also travel alongside Baroness von Riedesel, a German noblewoman who, while pregnant with her third child, set sail with her husband's army to join the fight in America.

"Most people talk about the leaders, the battle itself. But here, we're choosing to focus on her and her actions," says Turdo.

From Elizabeth Freeman-who gained her freedom from slavery after a Massachusetts court ruled in her favor-to the equality efforts of Abigail Adams, the Museum hopes stories like these resonate with audiences.

"I hope it's inspiring to everybody," says Turdo, "Everything they were talking about 250 years ago, we're talking about today, and it's important that people realize; you're not new to the conversation. You've been part of this hopefully all along, or it was interrupted and you need to have your seat at the table again."

For tickets and hours to the Museum of the American Revolution: The Arts in Philly.
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