The year 1976 ushered in America’s Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It provided a much-needed respite from the bleak years of the Vietnam War, Watergate scandal, and the turbulent cultural upheavals of the previous decade. Patriotic festivals, celebrations, and other observances across the land marked this auspicious occasion during Gerald R. Ford’s presidency. The American Freedom Train and Operation Sail were among the largest. The American Revolution Bicentennial Commission appointed by the president, and each state’s own Bicentennial commission coordinated most of the events. President Ford stated in his official Bicentennial message that “for two centuries our Nation has grown, changed and flourished. A diverse people, drawn from all corners of the Earth, have joined together to fulfill the Promise of Democracy… The Bicentennial offers each of us the Opportunity to join with our fellow Citizens in honoring the Past and preparing for the Future in Communities across the Nation.”

The museum’s collection includes a large assortment of materials from this great benchmark in American history, including quilts, posters, paintings, sculptures, commemorative medallions, furnishings, clothing, and a variety of folk art. Symbols of national pride – the Great Seal, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, the Spirit of ’76, along with the official Bicentennial logo – grace many of the objects.