J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, July 09, 2018

The World War of 1778 to 1783

An exhibit on “The American Revolution: A World War” just opened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. There is also a website showing some of the artifacts.

This exhibit focuses on the siege of Yorktown which, when we count sailors as well as troops on land, involved more Frenchmen than Americans.

Among the items on display are paintings of The Siege of Yorktown and The Surrender of Yorktown, both from 1786, and a Charles Willson Peale portrait of George Washington from the early 1780s. All three originally hung in the Comte de Rochambeau’s chamber as a reminder of his partnership with the American general. This is the first time the canvases have been together in more than two centuries.

Shown here is another early artistic celebration of the Franco-American alliance: a French porcelain figurine from the 1780s of King Louis XVI and diplomat Benjamin Franklin.

This exhibit is scheduled to remain on view until next July.

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