Friday, July 29, 2011

Revolutionary War Era Artifacts

A Few Items from the Claude and Inez Harkins Freedom Collection 

Artifacts, Documents and Artwork
Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO.

Genealogists and historians rarely get the chance to see, observe, and process true Revolutionary War era relics. We have seen photos, have read about them, and have a fundamental understanding of what our ancestors used and valued during this time in history. But the Claude and Inez Harkins Freedom Collection of Revolutionary War-era, that includes artifacts, documents, and artwork, presents a bit of history and sharing in our ancestor's story. The current Roots of a Nation exhibit is being displayed at the Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO., (until August 11, 2011) sponsored by the Mid-Continent Public Library.

The Exhibit
There are too many items to enumerate, but I have my favorites: a shoe buckle that was presented to Washington as a gift for his first inaugural. The variety of flags to include four documented 18th-century, 13 star flags, one of which belonged to Pierre L’Enfant, the architect of Washington, D.C, are also a public favorite.  The collection also includes Jennie Brownscomb's painting, “Examining the Flag”, depicting Betsy Ross presenting the completed “stars and stripes.  But it was the  impressive 1777 engraved powder horn of the Philadelphia Harbor during the celebration of the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that caught my eye.

What is a Powder Horn?

"During the American Revolutionary War, the powder horn was essential equipment for the soldier who used a firearm. The rifleman carried his firelock, hunting pouch, and a horn to carry gunpowder. Hunters and militia used powder horns. They were usually made from cow or ox horn.

Owners often incised initials, names, portraits, patterns, scenes and maps onto the horn to make them their very own. Engraved scenes often provide us with an immediate and vivid connection to events in the soldier's life."

More Information
The Roots of a Nation Exhibit
Free to the public
Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO
Ends August 21, 2011

Hope to see you at the Exhibit!
Kathleen Brandt

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