Distinctive Destinations

American Independence Musem

photo by: American Independence Museum

American Independence Museum

  • Address 1 Governors Lane
    Exeter, New Hampshire 03833
  • Hours
    Tuesday–Saturday
    10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
    December–April
    Closed
  • Phone 603-772-2622

Visit American Independence Museum

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Located on one acre in historic downtown Exeter, New Hampshire, the American Independence Museum houses over 3,000 objects related to our shared colonial and revolutionary heritage in two historic buildings.

Built in 1721, the Ladd-Gilman House is a National Historic Landmark property that was home to Nicholas Gilman Jr., a signer of the Constitution. The home also served as the governor’s mansion when Nicholas’ brother, John Taylor Gilman, was Governor of New Hampshire. Their father, Nicholas Gilman Sr., served as the state’s first treasurer.

Today, all 3,000 objects in the collection are housed in the Ladd-Gilman House. Highlights include an original printing of the Declaration of Independence, printed on the night of July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia; two working drafts of the U.S. Constitution; and handwritten letters from George Washington. At the American Independence Museum, you will hear stories about a colony in strife, the people who banded together to fight for independence, and the creation of a government and of the United State of America.

Folsom Tavern was built in 1775 by Colonel Samuel Folsom and visited by George Washington in 1789. However, the tavern's most notable contribution to New Hampshire history lies in the fact that the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Hampshire was founded there in 1783. The nation's oldest patriotic organization, the society was founded by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution. Folsom Tavern was fully restored between 2004 and 2007 to its original 18th-century appearance.

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