Join us September 14-21 for a week-long celebration of America's Revolutionary War spies! Learn the secrets of America's first spy ring, hear stories of famed spies such as Benjamin Tallmadge and Nathan Hale, and discover the truth about some of the War's unsung heroes who were instrumental in the efforts of Revolutionary espionage.
Check out our full schedule of specialized guided walking tours, spy-themed activities, and more!
Stay tuned for information on purchasing tickets!
Special Event | Saturday, September 14 | 9:00am-5:00pm
Our Spy Week celebrations kick off with Culper Spy Day, a special partner program at the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket, Long Island. The Three Village area is full of hidden intrigue and stories of how America's first spy ring came together secretly to provide General George Washington the information he needed to turn the tide of the American Revolution. Come build your own revolutionary story and see history come to live in this event filled with docent led tours of historic locations throughout the Stony Brook and Setauket areas, various exhibitions, kid-friendly demonstrations and more!
And there's more! Present your *Culper Day ticket at the Fraunces Tavern Museum admissions desk and receive FREE Museum admission during Spy Week!
*Culper Day pass is valid for FREE Museum admission only, Sept. 15-22. Tickets must be purchased for the Sympathetic Spies Walking Tour, and Special Lecture. Please see below for ticketing information to these programs.
*Ticket purchase includes complimentary admission to the Museum.
*Tickets must be purchased in advance. You will receive a confirmation email with the starting location of the tour within 24 business hours.
Sympathetic Spies: George Washington’s Eyes and Ears in Lower Manhattan Walking Tour | Sunday, September 15 | 11:00am - 1:00pm
The British Revolutionary War Spymaster Major George Beckwith claimed that, “Washington didn’t really outfight the British, he simply out-spied us.” The General’s master spies operated out of Lower Manhattan and this walking tour will make its way between the Battery and Wall Street, retracing their steps.
Join Archive on Parade founder Lucie Levine on this guided walking tour to discover who first peddled fake news, meet the tailor who saved George Washington’s life not once but twice, and find out what Eagles, Turtles, and Vultures have to do with turncoats and saboteurs.
Lucie Levine aims to take New York’s fascinating history out of the archives and into the streets. She’s a native New Yorker, and licensed New York City tour guide, with a passion for the city’s social, political and cultural history. Lucie has collaborated with local partners including the New York Public Library, the 92nd Street Y, the Brooklyn Brainery, The Society for the Advancement of Social Studies and Nerd Nite to offer exciting tours, lectures and community events all over town.
How The Spies Did It
Special Lecture | Tuesday, September 17 | 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Join us for a look at how spies communicated during the Revolutionary War! In this interactive lecture, historical interpreter Norman Goben will explore the successes and failures of Patriot spy rings and demonstrate their methods of communications. Hear about the agents of espionage who helped win the war, and learn how to code your own secret messages!
Stay tuned for more information on how to purchase tickets to this event!
Norman Goben is a lifelong resident of Manhattan with an avid interest in early American History, which he has avidly researched over the past 13 years. He has spoken at many New York City historical sites, including Federal Hall, Hamilton Grange, the Van Cortlandt House Museum, and the New-York Historical Society.
Confidential: The American Revolution's Agents of Espionage
Special Exhibition | Open Daily
Learn how tailors, school teachers, and enslaved persons 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!
Free with regular Museum admission.
Guided Tours | Daily
Explore the Museum in this docent-led, 45 minute tour about Revolutionary spies such as Nathan Hale, Benjamin Tallmadge, and Lydia Darrah. Learn about the tools of the trade as a spymaster, the creation of America’s very first spy ring, and catch a glimpse of the last known letter from Nathan Hale which hasn’t been on display in over decade.
Free with regular Museum admission. No reservations required.
Saturday, September 14, 1pm & 2pm
Sunday, September 15, 1pm, 2pm, & 3pm
Monday, September 16, 2pm
Tuesday, September 17, 2pm
Wednesday, September 18, 2pm
Thursday, September 19, 1pm
Friday, September 20, 1pm & 2pm
Saturday, September 21, 1pm & 2pm
Nathan Hale Day Commemoration
Special Event | Friday, September 20 | 12:00-1:00pm | City Hall Park
Nathan Hale was commissioned by George Washington to infiltrate the British ranks to gather intelligence. He was discovered on September 22, 1776 and hanged for treason, without trial, the next morning.
Join the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York at City Hall Park as they commemorate martyred spy Nathan Hale at the foot of the Nathan Hale statue which stands at City Hall Park. The ceremony features the SRNY Color Guard, a mayoral proclamation, wreath laying and more.
This is a free event open to the public.
Spy Week Family Day
Special Event | Saturday, September 21 | 1:00-4:00pm
There's fun for everyone on Spy Week Family Day at the Museum! Write secret messages with invisible ink, use a clothesline to send secret messages like patriot Anna Smith Strong, use a cipher wheel to decode secret messages from Benjamin Tallmadge's very own code book and meet author Claudia Friddell, who will read excerpts from her book, George Washington's Spies.
About the Author:
For children’s author, Claudia Friddell, the next best thing to time travel is discovering and sharing exciting real life stories from long ago. A former elementary school teacher, Claudia loves talking to students and teachers about the magic of bringing history to life through books. When she’s not visiting schools, digging for treasure in the library, or writing at her home in Baltimore, she’s reading, walking, and kayaking on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. To learn more about Claudia and her books, George Washington’s Spies and Goliath, Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire, visit: www.claudiafriddell.com.
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Saturday, September 21 | 11:00am-5:00pm
Fraunces Tavern Museum is proud to participate in Smithsonian magazine’s 13th annual Museum Day Live!, an annual celebration of boundless curiosity, insight, and inspiration. On Saturday, September 22, visitors who present the Museum Day Live! Ticket will gain FREE admission for two. Register now and download your tickets here.
Visit Smithsonian.com/museumday for more information and a full list of participating museums and cultural institutions.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council