From now through July 16, the American Independence Museum is hosting its annual American Independence Festival, presented by Newburyport Bank, with several virtual twists. “Due to COVID-19, we needed to re-imagine the Festival, which historically attracts thousands of visitors to downtown Exeter,” said Emma Stratton, executive director of the American Independence Museum, a founding Trail member.
Noting this year’s re-imagined Festival features more than ten different events and/or programs, Stratton said one virtual highlight includes a virtual Presentation on July 11. “We will have our traditional opening salute and the premiere of a video on the history of the Festival,” she said. “We will also have a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Greg Gilman, a direct descendant of the man who read it to the town of Exeter in 1776.”
Another virtual highlight includes a community-wide reading of the Declaration of Independence that will air on July 16, the day the Declaration of Independence arrived in Exeter. Other events include three lectures, town-wide scavenger hunt and more. “We are excited at the chance to welcome visitors from far and wide this year through a virtual platform,” added Stratton.
According to Jeff Barraclough, president of The Trail and director of operations at the Millyard Museum in Manchester, the American Independence Museum’s foray into the digital realm demonstrates capacity by many member institutions. “As a result of the pandemic, museums across the region have had to find new ways to reach their audiences, whether through virtual tours, social media, or developing online educational resources,” he said. “Although I know people will miss being at various events in person this year, many of our museums can reach people across the country now.”
Formed in 2014 as a way to share resources and better promote their respective collections, programs and events, The Trail is divided into the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley and Lakes Regions. Member institutions are located in Canterbury, Concord, Dover, Exeter, Laconia, Manchester, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Tamworth and Wolfeboro.
For more information about the American Independence Festival, visit independencemuseum.org.