Though we typically remember its significance in the American Revolution, Fraunces Tavern continued to be an active and important social space in the many years following Washington's farewell. On the 300th anniversary of the building's construction, A Monument to Memory explores the many roles 54 Pearl Street has played in the public life of Lower Manhattan, inviting visitors to discover how the stories we tell through historic preservation and inquiry shape our memories of the past.
On view now through July 2020.
We may not like paying taxes but we would never think to tar and feather the tax collector. Yet as many of the colonists prepared for what would be the American Revolution, there was an organized group who opposed the government through violent resistance.
Come see objects preserved from pivotal moments relating to the New York Sons of Liberty, like the tearing down of the King George statue in Bowling Green Park, and throwing chests of tea into the New York Harbor.
View the object labels for this exhibition.
The Adeline Moses Loeb Gallery
Learn how tailors, school teachers, and enslaved people operated as secret agents gathering intelligence for the American cause. This exhibition features never before seen objects from the Museum's collection, including artifacts and images detailing the infamous story of traitor Benedict Arnold, and letters from the leader of Long Island’s Culper Spy Ring, Benjamin Tallmadge, to the operation’s mastermind, “Spy Master 711”—George Washington himself.
*Visitors will also get an opportunity to become agents of espionage themselves by using a cipher wheel to uncover the secret messages hidden in the object labels!
On the second floor of 54 Pearl Street is the Long Room. It is the site of General George Washington’s famous farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolution. This period room is a re-creation of an 18th century public dining room based on extensive research of inventories and estates of tavern keepers during this period.
Washington’s farewell to his generals who survived the war was an emotionally charged address. In attendance was Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, who described the event many years later in his memoirs, “With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” The memoir is currently on view in McEntee Gallery.
Thanks to a grant from the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust and support from our generous donors, the Long Room has a brand NEW look! Come visit the newly designed space, which was revealed to the public on March 1, 2019.
The Clinton Room is a recreation of a federalist style dining room. The room is named for George Clinton, New York State’s first American governor who hosted a dinner party for General George Washington at Fraunces Tavern to celebrate the evacuation of British troops from New York on November 25, 1783.
The Clinton family donated the beautiful Zuber wallpaper that currently hangs in this room. It is one of only eleven surviving examples of the original sets designed in France in 1838. The room boasts many pieces of Chippendale furnishings, as well as original Chinese export porcelain. Clinton keeps an eye on this room from his portrait, which hangs above the fireplace and his sword.
The George Washington Portrait Gallery Honoring Elizabeth and Stanley DeForest Scott
Few individuals have been as honored and revered in American history as George Washington. Elected as the rebellion’s military leader in 1775 as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and eventually unanimously elected as the first American President, he embodied the spirit of the American people.
Washington was a symbol of popular political participation and resistance to authority, while also being a champion of law and order. He possessed numerous virtues including duty, bravery, and loyalty that continue to inspire respect and emulation. These attributes, along with his impressive physical stature, moved numerous artists to create portraits of Washington during his lifetime.
The majority of the prints on display in the exhibition were issued during the last quarter of the 18th century, and seen together they give a rare glimpse into the attitudes and perspectives of that period.
Located above the Long Room, this exhibition explains the history of the organization that saved Fraunces Tavern. Visitors can learn about the SRNY and its community involvement through the displays of artifacts, images, and plaques which are kept in original early 20th century museum cases, built by Tiffany & Company.
The Kathryn & Shelby Cullom Davis Center for American History
Over forty of the more than 200 flags from the collection are on display in the Kathryn & Shelby Cullom Davis Education Center for American History. In this exhibition visitors will learn how the design and colors of the American flag developed. Flags representing the states and French regiments who fought for the cause are also on display.