Morristown NHP, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, New Jersey 07960
Morristown, NJ – Morristown National Historical Park and the Washington Association of New Jersey will celebrate the park’s 90th Anniversary and Independence Week with a variety of programs between July 4 through 9, all at the park’s at Washington’s Headquarters.
July 4: Activities begin at 12:00 p.m. with a “Warm-Up for the Declaration” followed by the dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. The “Warm-Up” will feature a park ranger in period clothing entertaining the crowd and giving a “kids level” explanation of the Declaration. Eighteenth-century stories, jokes and riddles are all part of the fun.
At 1:00 p.m. the public reading of the Declaration of Independence will commence. Attendees will be encouraged to cheer along with park rangers and re-enactors as they denounce tyranny and praise liberty. At the conclusion of the reading, attendees are welcome to participate in a mock musket salute known as a feu de joie. Afterward, the Ford Mansion will be open for self-guided tours with re-enactors in period dress bringing life to the mansion.
Visitors are encouraged to bring water to drink and a low-folding chair or a blanket to sit on the ground. The Jockey Hollow Visitor Center and Wick House buildings will be closed on July 4, but Jockey Hollow’s grounds, trails and restrooms will be open.
July 5-7: The Washington’s Headquarters Museum will be open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and ticketed tours of the Ford Mansion will be offered on the hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tour tickets will be distributed at the museum on a first come, first served basis.
July 7-9: The park will host the Museum of the American Revolution’s First Oval Office Project, which includes a full-scale replica of George Washington’s sleeping and operational tents that served as his mobile command headquarters while on campaign. Visitors will be able to tour the tents and participate in special programs. Visitors will have a rare and unique opportunity to tour and compare Washington’s headquarters at the Ford Mansion to his “mobile headquarters” tent. The tent and programming are generously sponsored by the Washington Association of New Jersey.
On the afternoon of Friday, July 7, the First Oval Office Project will arrive at Washington’s Headquarters and the public is invited to assist costumed reenactors with the initial set up of the “War Tent.”
Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 8, the public may continue to assist with the War Tent set up.
Saturday, July 8 and Sunday, July 9: The Washington’s Headquarters Museum and Ford Mansion will be open to the public with special programs and historical presentations planned.
The general schedule for both days is:
9:00 a.m. Museum and War Tent open to the public
9:30 a.m. Ford Mansion opens to the public
1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Historical presentations and activities
4:30 p.m. Ford Mansion closes to the public
5:00 p.m. Museum and War Tent close to the public
At 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 9 the public will again be invited to assist in the gradual breakdown of the tents.
For all programs, visitors should dress appropriately for the weather, including wearing a hat and sunscreen. All events are rain- or-shine. Due to limited parking, guests are encouraged to carpool or walk to the event.
The first celebrations of American Independence took place as news of the Declaration of Independence spread from town to town. It was Congress’ wish that public readings of the Declaration be held “in such a mode, as that the people may be universally informed of it.” Public gatherings included various forms of celebration such as firing muskets or cannon, as well as toasts and salutes to American Independence. General Washington had the Declaration of Independence read to his troops in 1776. Although there is no evidence of any celebration in Morristown, the army was in Morristown for the first anniversary of Independence during a brief visit in July 1777.
For more information about Morristown NHP, please visit www.nps.gov/morr.
For more about the Washington Association of New Jersey, please visit www.wanj.org.
For more about the Museum of the American Revolution, please visit www.amrevmuseum.org.