At the same time ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ is hitting the Chicago stage, Naper Settlement is celebrating Alexander Hamilton’s history with a traveling exhibit. The Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America exhibit will be on view at Naper Settlement from Sept. 13 to Oct. 12, featuring reproductions from the Gilder Lehrman Collection. This exhibit gives an in-depth look into the founding father’s life who helped shape the America we live in today. This exhibit is free with daily museum admission, which is $12 adults, $10 seniors (62+) and $8 youth (4-12). Naperville residents (with proof of residency) and members receive free admission.
“We’re so fortunate to have this exhibit come to Naper Settlement during a time that so many people are interested in learning more about Alexander Hamilton,” said Vice President of Community Engagement and Audience Donna Sack. “The Broadway musical did a fantastic job of getting more people curious about our founding fathers, and we’re excited to bring Hamilton’s story to Naperville.”
This exhibition examines Hamilton’s important role in the Revolutionary War and Early Republic periods. Follow Hamilton’s an astonishing rise in five short years from an orphaned, 15-year-old West Indies immigrant to George Washington’s war time aide. Never one to back away from a fight, political or otherwise, Hamilton fought his final duel at the age of 47 with Vice President Aaron Burr. Once the duel was over, Hamilton was found dead and Burr was wanted for murder. More than any other founder, Hamilton was a complex and controversial figure and a true visionary.
Local Naperville collectors, Todd and Hillary Andrlik, are loaning two original newspapers and a map from the time of Alexander Hamilton. The first newspaper is a 1775 New York Gazetteer and the second is the New York Packet from July 4, 1776 and is one of only four still in existence. Newspapers at this time were released weekly and were often taken up and down the colonies. Although the news may not have been the most recent, these newspapers were incredibly important to the people receiving it.
“When you pick up a newspaper like the New York Packet and you start reading about how they were battling for independence, you feel like you are reading over the shoulder of Alexander
Hamilton,” said Todd Andrlik, collector and author. “You are reading about independence just as our founding fathers did.”
Amid the recent buzz that has surrounded Hamilton, taking a second look at how the United States was founded should help 21st century Americans better understand the origins of our government, the courts, and our economy. Hamilton was a pivotal figure in providing a foundation for the multifaceted society we live in today.
“The Revolutionary War almost seems fictional,” said Todd Andrlik. “We tell these amazing stories that seem larger than life, and you get lost in what can seem like a fantasy world. So any time you can take an era and breathe new life into it, it’s important and that’s why it’s so wonderful this exhibit is coming to Naper Settlement.”
About Naper Settlement
Naper Settlement is a nationally accredited, award-winning outdoor museum set on 12 magnificent acres in the heart of Naperville, where history comes to play and community comes to connect. For more information, visit www.napersettlement.org or call (630) 420-6010.