'Occupied Philadelphia': History comes to life at Revolutionary-era reenactment

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Sunday, November 6, 2022
History comes to life at Revolutionary-era reenactment
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The British may no longer occupy Philadelphia, but the sights and sounds of 1777 were on full display this weekend.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- This weekend, "Occupied Philadelphia" brought history to life with the sights and sounds of 1777. Held annually each fall, it is the Museum of the American Revolution's largest living history event.

"This is an opportunity to teach people much more accurately about what the past was like," said Adrienne Whaley. "And to get to tell stories of the people who might have been my own ancestors and the ancestors of people in my community."

Whaley, the Director of Education and Community Engagement at the museum, was dressed as a pepper pot soup lady. This was an example of an entrepreneurial venture that a free Black woman at the time would have explored.

She sees her role as a way to paint a clearer picture of the diversity that exists within the nation's history.

"There aren't that many people of African descent who are doing this work," she said."So, most people don't have the opportunity to see the great diversity of that time period."

Guests at the weekend-long event also got to witness the makeup of a typical marketplace, British card games, and the real-time apprehension and arrest of soldiers.

"A year and a few months after the Declaration of Independence, the British army arrived and captured the city for over nine months," said Tyler Putman, the museum's Senior Manager of Gallery Interpretation. "So, you can walk around and imagine what that looks like on a citywide scale."

Walking tours and drumming demonstrations helped set the scene for a Revolutionary-era Philadelphia.

"We didn't know any of this was going on. We walked by, we were really excited," said Jason Boyd, who visited with his family from Washington D.C. "We've been here about 10 minutes. I've learned things I've never learned before about the American history."

Although this year's "Occupied Philadelphia" has concluded, the Museum of the American Revolution hosts tours and programming year-round. To learn more, visit their website.

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