American Independence Museum

American Independence Museum

The American Independence Museum is located in Exeter, New Hampshire. Its one-acre campus includes the Ladd-Gilman House (1721), a registered National Historic Landmark, and the Folsom Tavern (c. 1775).

The museum's mission is to be a place for study and interpretation of the American Revolution and the role that New Hampshire, Exeter, and the Gilman family played in the founding of the United States. Here visitors learn how ordinary people helped create a nation "with liberty and justice for all."


In 1985, a Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence was found in the Ladd-Gilman House. Established in 1991, the American Independence Museum celebrates this rare document and the founding principles of the United States. Included in the museum's collection of historical artifacts are two rare drafts of the U.S. Constitution and an original Purple Heart, awarded by General George Washington to soldiers demonstrating extraordinary bravery.


The museum hosts a variety of public programs, the largest of which, the American Independence Festival held in July of each year, actively engages thousands of visitors in the nation's 18th century heritage.

Ladd-Gilman House

The Ladd-Gilman House was the home of an 18th century merchant family whose members played key roles in the birth of the United States. Nicholas Gilman, Sr., served as New Hampshire state treasurer during the American Revolution. Eldest son John Taylor Gilman read the Declaration of Independence to citizens of Exeter and later became New Hampshire governor. Nicholas Gilman, Jr. was a signer of the U.S. Constitution. In the early 20th century, under the ownership of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Hampshire, the Ladd-Gilman House became one of the first house museums open to the public.

Folsom Tavern

Exeter was the capital of New Hampshire when Colonel Samuel Folsom built this tavern. During the Revolutionary War, it was the site of many passionate political debates. It continues to be a dynamic center for discussion, research, and education today.

External links

* [ Museum web site]

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