Celebrate Independence Day at Nine Exciting Historic Events and Destinations
(Washington, D.C.) – This year, Americans will be celebrating the 241st anniversary of our country’s Declaration of Independence. The document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, thus formally declaring to the world that America’s thirteen colonies viewed themselves as independent, sovereign states free from British rule. In honor of Independence Day, the Civil War Trust – a national battlefield preservation organization – is recommending nine Fourth of July events and activities to enjoy at historic attractions nationwide.
June 30 – July 2: Living History Encampment at Lee’s Headquarters, Gettysburg, PA
The Civil War Trust will hold an open house event at the site of Mary Thompson’s home, which served as General Lee’s command center during the Battle of Gettysburg. In addition, interpreters from the nearby Seminary Ridge Museum will be onsite periodically to discuss topics such as the Battle of Gettysburg’s impact on civilians, the major command decisions made at the Lee’s Headquarters site, and the battle action that occurred on the headquarters property on July 1, 1863. More information: https://www.civilwar.org/lees-HQ-openings-2017
July 1, July 4: Fourth of July at Fort Scott, Fort Scott, Kansas
Fort Scott National Historic Site will be hosting “an Old-Fashioned Military Holiday” in celebration of Independence Day. Events will be taking place on July 1 and 4, and visitors can celebrate the anniversary with all the “pomp and parade,” as John Adams put it, that it deserves. More information: https://www.nps.gov/fosc
July 1: Antietam Salute to Independence Celebration, Sharpsburg, Maryland
Visit Antietam National Battlefield for a special Independence Day commemoration. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra will be performing a two-hour concert beginning at 7:30 p.m., followed by a fireworks display. More information: https://www.nps.gov/anti
July 1-4: Independence Day Weekend, Ticonderoga, New York
Join Fort Ticonderoga July 1-4 for a four-day celebration this Independence Day weekend. The Fife and Drum Corps is set to perform patriotic music throughout the weekend, and cannon demonstrations will take place. A special holiday living history event will be included. More information: http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events
July 1: The Reading and Signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington, Arizona
The 1874 Courthouse at Historic Washington State Park is holding a reading of the Declaration of the Independence. Afterward, visitors will be able to sign their own “John Hancock” to a copy of the Declaration of Independence to take home. More information: http://www.historicwashingtonstatepark.com/events
July 2 – July 4: 4th of July at Morristown, Morristown, New Jersey
For the fifth year in a row, visitors and residents of Morris County will have the opportunity to enjoy an authentic, patriotic 4th of July the way the Founding Fathers might have imagined it. The schedule of events spans July 1 to July 4, when Morristown National Historical Park will be open to the public to celebrate the National Parks’ next 100 years and the July 4 holiday. More information: https://www.nps.gov/morr
July 4: Declaring Independence, Concord, Massachusetts
The park rangers and volunteers at Minute Man National Historical Park are celebrating our country’s birthday with a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Hear the historic words that were written by founding father and future president, Thomas Jefferson. More information: https://www.nps.gov/mima
July 4: July 4th Community Picnic in the Park, King of Prussia, PA
Join the team at Valley Forge National Historical Park to celebrate our nation's independence with artillery demonstrations, historical games, an All-American cook-out, music, and more! Meet one of the founding fathers and sign the Declaration of Independence. Learn about the meaning of the American flag and the pivotal role the Valley Forge encampment played in securing our freedom from Great Britain. More information: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/event-listing
National Mall Fourth of July Celebration, Washington, DC
Celebrate the 4th of July in our nation’s capital! The annual fireworks display will be taking place at 9:09 p.m. on the National Mall. More information: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalmall4th
For more events, check the National Park Service events calendar at findyourpark.com, visit your state park website or search for museums and historic sites near you.
The Civil War Trust is a national nonprofit land preservation organization devoted to the protection of America’s hallowed battlegrounds. Although primarily focused on the acquisition of Civil War battlefields, through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 46,000 acres of battlefield land in 24 states. Learn more at Civilwar.org.
The Civil War Preservation Trust became the Civil War Trust in January 2011; the Civil War Trust became a division of the American Battlefield Trust in May 2018. Campaign 1776 was created in 2014 as an initiative of the Civil War Trust; in May 2018 it became the Revolutionary War Trust, a division of the American Battlefield Trust.