New York, N.Y. – On Friday, April 2, 2021, Fraunces Tavern Museum will debut two new exhibitions: An American Emblem of Magnanimity and To the Beat of Their Own Drums: Regimental Flags of the American Revolution.
On display in the Adeline Moses Loeb Gallery, An American Emblem of Magnanimity examines the history of the Gadsden Flag and the role it continues to play in shaping the American identity.
“The Gadsden flag stands out because of its vibrant color, timber rattlesnake, and strong message: ‘Don’t Tread On Me,’” says the show’s Co-Curator Mary Tsaltas-Ottomanelli. “It is also one of the few flags of the American Revolutionary era that is actively used today, but whose meaning changes based on the context in which it is flown.”
The exploration of Revolutionary-era flags continues into the Kathryn & Shelby Cullom Davis Educational Center for American History with To the Beat of Their Own Drums: American Regimental Flags of the Revolutionary War. This exhibition showcases a selection of flags flown by the regiments which made up the Continental Army and explores the meanings behind the symbols they used to adorn them. Flags depicting images from hornets to hand grenades were used to symbolize these soldiers' bravery and courage.
Among the flags on display is the Bucks of America flag, a bright yellow and blue flag which the only Black company in the Continental Army carried during the Revolutionary War; the Third New York Regiment flag whose detailed images inspired the current design of the New York State flag; and the Bedford Minuteman Standard flag which bears the Latin phrase “VINCE AUT MORIRE,” meaning “Conquer or Die.” Visitors will learn about the history and iconography behind the regimental flags of the diverse groups who fought for American Independence.
“As the country continues to recover from both the pandemic and a turbulent presidential election, this exhibition presents a timely tale of the communities that came together to fight for their independence and, ultimately, negotiate their shared values to form a unified nation,” says Co-Curator Lisa Goulet
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