At my house, we have been rocking out to Hamilton: An American Musical since late summer. My son and I take turns being Hamilton and Aaron Burr. He has learned a lot about the American Revolution, and how our nation got its start. Our late summer trip to Boston was enhanced by his new found interest in the Founding Fathers, although there was too much John Adams and not enough Hamilton for his tastes. Parental Advisory: You may want to listen/check lyrics before you let your kids listen. Amazon Prime Music offers a “clean” version of the soundtrack, which is more appropriate for children.
We are currently running a countdown the Hamilton documentary that’s airing on PBS on October 21, 2016, and I suspect we aren’t the only ones. East coasters can easily find historic significance in the surroundings to tie into Hamilton, but what about Indianapolis?
It turns out, there are several spots in Indianapolis that can tie into Hamilton, and even more around the state.
History Has Its Eyes On You
Did you know Indianapolis is only second to Washington, D.C for the number of war memorials it contains? Indianapolis has dedicated more acreage to honoring fallen soldiers than any other city in the U.S. It’s the perfect place for children to start learning about the Revolutionary War.
The Indiana War Memorial – This is one of the best kept secrets of downtown Indianapolis. This magnificent monument pays tribute to Indiana armed forces through all American conflicts and wars, starting with the Revolutionary War. Their display about George Rogers Clark capturing the British Fort Sackville (current day Vincennes) will give kids a chance to see the dress of the day and learn more about the capture. This exhibit is currently under renovation, but parts are still available to view. A statue of George Rogers Clark can be found at your next stop – Monument Circle.
The Soldiers & Sailors Monument – Fun fact, this monument honors Hoosiers who fought in the Revolutionary War, along with later wars. Walk around the monument, seeing each side of the monument for each side honors a different war.
George Washington Statue on Statehouse Lawn – One character from the musical my son has latched onto is George Washington. He was DELIGHTED to learn that our fair city has its own statue of this important Founding Father. Look for him on the statehouse lawn, facing, you guessed it, Washington Street.
We’ve talked a lot about Britan’s rule over the 13 colonies, and what made the colonists fight for freedom. If your kids enjoy laughing at King George III, stop by his portrait the next time you are at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The king, as well as Queen Charlotte are part of the museum’s vast collection (as is a portrait of Hamilton, and other key characters- check the IMA website to see what’s currently on display).
While my kids love to laugh at the king, if you have a budding Anglophile, check out places to have tea around town.
Around the State
Here are some other tidbits- if you start looking, references to some of the other characters in Hamilton are also around the state.
Lafayette, Indiana – Lafayette is indeed name after everyone’s favorite fighting Frenchman, Marquis de Lafayette. One of the stops on the outdoor art trail is a fountain that features his statue and is named after home.
Vincennes, Indiana – Visit the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park in Vincennes, and learn how he led his troops to victory over the British in the Siege of Fort Sackville. This victory helped the U.S secure the western frontier at the time. See this battle reenacted every Memorial Day weekend at the Spirit of Vincennes. Much like other battles of the Revolution, US troops had to surprise and deceive the British in order to win.
Indiana Dunes State Park – Believe it or not, there was a skirmish between the US and the British on the shores of Lake Michigan in what is now Indiana Dunes State Park! The next time you are there, visit the marker. The British ended up winning this one day battle, when the rebellion’s surprise attack didn’t go as planned.
Fort Wayne, Indiana – There’s a statue your #Hamilkids might appreciate in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The town that is named after General Anthony Wayne has a statue of him, of course. He led troops in several important battles during the Revolution, and worked closely with General Washington. He was left in a quandary at the Battle of Monmouth, when Charles Lee retreated. He and Washington did what they could, snatching a stalemate from the jaws of defeat. “I cannot forbear mentioning Brigadier-General Wayne, whose good conduct and bravery through the whole action deserves particular commendation.” – General George Washington
Are your kids into Hamilton? Did we miss any #HamilKid stops on our tour? Let us know on social media: @indywithkids