Unless you were an early bird, let’s face it: You probably aren’t getting tickets to “Hamilton” at the Kennedy Center. But there are plenty of exhibits, events and tours about the man himself happening around town this summer. Here are a few to sate “Hamilton” fans still looking for their fix of the Founding Father.
The Library of Congress wants you to find the connections between Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics and Alexander Hamilton’s own writing in this special display of 10 historical papers from its collection. Think “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” taking inspiration from Hamilton’s report to the Marquis de Lafayette on the Battle of Yorktown. Or try humming “Best of Wives and Best of Women” as you peruse a goodbye letter from Hamilton to his wife, Elizabeth (known as Eliza), just before his duel with Aaron Burr. Through Aug. 21 at the Library of Congress. loc.gov.
Society of the Cincinnati
The Dupont Circle museum within the Society of the Cincinnati — an organization founded by Continental Army officers after the American Revolution — has an exhibition on Hamilton’s role in the War for Independence. Among the artifacts on display are military ornaments purportedly worn by Hamilton during the war, his “Gold Eagle” insignia identifying him as an original member of the society and a ring of Eliza’s containing a lock of his hair. Through Sept. 16 at Society of the Cincinnati. societyofthecincinnati.org.
The home of a different Founding Father gets in on the action with a display of four objects exploring Hamilton’s relationship with George Washington. In addition to an engraving depicting the two men in the aftermath of the British surrender at Yorktown, three pieces of correspondence give a glimpse into their connection, including a condolence letter from Hamilton to Martha Washington upon her husband’s death. Through Oct. 1 at Mount Vernon. mountvernon.org.
Looking at Hamilton through the lens of his era’s media, this exhibit of 18 newspapers from as far back as the 1780s is a firsthand look at some of his most historic moments. Read articles from the day Congress passed his plan to create a national bank, stories highlighting his role in the 1800 presidential election and the many eulogies of him in the weeks after his death. Through Sept. 9 at George Washington University Museum. museum.gwu. edu.
The Smithsonian has two related objects on view at the American History Museum this summer — one from the past and one from the musical. The older is a 19th-century oil painting of Eliza Hamilton, by Daniel P. Huntington. And from the musical: a Colonial-style silk suit worn by Lin-Manuel Miranda in several performances from 2015 to 2016. Portrait: July 31-March 2019; costume: through July 29 at the National Museum of American History. americanhistory.si.edu.
He is usually more associated geographically with New York rather than Washington, so this themed tour of the capital city bounces across sites tied to the people in his life (and the side characters in the musical). It starts in Foggy Bottom by the bust of George Washington, winding its way to the square named for the Marquis de Lafayette and stopping at some of Eliza’s haunts and the Hamilton statue in front of the Treasury Building. Guides will use lyrics from the musical to flesh out the history along the way. June 15-Sept. 16. washingtonwalks. com/tours/hamiltons-dc.
In their day, such historical figures as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Aaron Burr patronized Alexandria’s Gadsby’s Tavern. Hamilton did not, but he had a complex relationship with each of those men. This tour dives into those ties, exploring how the Founding Fathers grappled over what their new nation would look like. Through Sept. 1 at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. shop.alexandriava.gov/events.aspx.
An Inspiring Founder,' National Archives
In this exhibit, five Hamilton-centric original documents from the National Archives collection are paired with “Hamilton”-related lyrics for insight into the man behind the musical. Among the documents are George Washington’s nomination of Hamilton as the nation’s first treasury secretary and a “Statement of Property and Debts” that Hamilton wrote days before his duel with Burr, “if an accident should happen to me.” Through Sept. 18 at the National Archives. archives.gov.