On any given day in the summer, the American Independence Museum in Exeter welcomes dozens of visitors, including youth who participate in lively engaging programs with costumed re-enactors.

“Our Revolutionary Kids Summer Camp provides kids with a fun, interactive learning experience,” said Education Manager Abigail Pietrantonio. “It’s fun for kids to interact with colonial re-enactors and experience life as an 18th century resident of Exeter. It is a unique program.”

It is a program that also resonates with parents, including Mary Ann Cappiello, whose daughter Ella participated in the program for two years before volunteering her time for the past two years.

“She came to camp because she loved all the hands-on learning experiences and wearing 18th century clothing, but it also definitely helped deepen her knowledge and her love of history,” she said.

This love of history, she said, is crucial given the marginalization of social studies education at the elementary level.

“I want to do something about that,” said Cappiello, who noted she herself has become involved in the museum by serving on its education committee.

“[It] connects me with other local educators who care about history and want to help the museum make a difference in the lives of community members and visitors from all over the world,” she added. 

Expressing excitement at the museum’s summer camp in 2019, Pietrantonio said she hopes Ella’s experience can entice others between the ages of 9 and 11.

“It’s a fun program that enables kids to step back in time and really use their imaginations,” she said. 
The American Independence Museum features more than 3,000 items in its collection, including one of only 26 surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence. 

The museum is also a member of the 17-member NH Heritage Museum Trail, which connects the public with culturally rich heritage institutions in New Hampshire. For more information about the NH Heritage Museum Trail, visit nhmuseumtrail.org.