Alexander Hamilton. A statesman, a promoter of the U.S. Constitution, a Founding Father. Now, thanks to a little-known Broadway musical, his name has sparked interest for a new generation.
Winterthur Museum, historic in its own right, and part of the du Pont family legacy in Greater Wilmington, Delaware, sits on 1,000 acres of breathtaking gardens, rolling hills and pastures. The home on the property, all 175-rooms of it, houses an unparalleled collection of American decorative arts - nearly 90,000 objects. But it’s Winterthur’s special exhibitions that connect this historic property with today’s modern culture. Exhibitions like 2015’s "Costumes of Downton Abbey" and the current "Costuming THE CROWN" have explored how costumes and costume design is used to create riveting, award-winning drama.
Now, one very special exhibition picks up where Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical left off.
Hamilton and Burr: Who Wrote Their Stories?, on display through January 5, 2020, examines how Alexander Hamilton’s and Aaron Burr’s legacies were shaped by other Founding Fathers, a wife, a daughter, historical documents, and yes, even an enormously successful, modern-day musical. The exhibition begins with the aftermath of shots in Weehawken, New Jersey. It then dives into the printed material and imagery surrounding these two figures to consider the ways in which Burr’s daughter, Theodosia Burr Alston, and Hamilton’s widow, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, helped shape the print culture to craft legacies of both men.
Setting the scene is an 18th-century velvet coat, similar to the one that inspired Miranda’s vision for the musical—which serves as a reminder that historical narratives can always be re-explored, reconsidered, and rewritten.
If you’re a history buff, a theatre bug, or just plain interested in learning something new Hamilton and Burr: Who Wrote Their Stories? offers unique insight and new meaning to the term “lost history”.