Even if the performance of "Hamilton" you bought tickets for is still a fafillion years in the future, fans of the Pulitzer/Grammy/Tony-winning Broadway musical can visit these five museums in New York City and New Jersey right now. Not only will they reveal more about the real life of Alexander Hamilton, but two of these museums were inspirations for creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as he wrote the music and lyrics.
Museum of American Finance
Ground yourself in the legacy of Alexander Hamilton and his innovations as America's first Secretary of the Treasury at the Museum of American Finance in lower Manhattan. Hamilton dealt with the nation's first debt crisis, created the national bank and developed a tax system that could encourage economic development. He also founded the Bank of New York.
On display in the "Alexander Hamilton Room" are documents signed by Hamilton himself and replicas of the pistols which killed him in his fateful duel with rival Aaron Burr. (A little morbid if you ask me.) The room was designed to look like Walton House, the first place the Bank of New York conducted business in 1784.
48 Wall Street New York, NY
Tuesday - Saturday, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students/seniors and free for members and kids 6 and under.
Fraunces Tavern Museum
When Hamilton first appears onstage in the musical, he has just entered Fraunces Tavern where John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan, Aaron Burr, and the Marquis de Lafayette are drinking beer. Miranda used a little creative license here, but Fraunces Tavern is the oldest tavern (and one of the oldest buildings) in New York City and a likely place to have encountered young revolutionaries in the colonial city.
Fraunces Tavern is also famous for being the location of the dinner where George Washington said goodbye to his troops. And on July 4, 1804, just a week before Burr and Hamilton dueled, they both attended dinner here hosted by the Society of the Cincinnati.
The building was almost thrown down in 1900 as the city continued to expand but was more fortunately turned into a museum and restaurant. Today there are 9 gallery spaces devoted to early New York history and 8 dining spaces.
54 Pearl Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10004
Monday - Friday: 12-5 p.m., Saturday - Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Museum is closed the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day
Adult $7.00 Seniors (65+) $4.00 Students $4.00 Children (6-18) $4.00 Children (under 5) FREE Active Military (w/ proof of ID)
Family Group (1 adult w/ 4+ children OR 2 adults w/ 2+ children) $20.00
General Group Rate (14+ adults) $5.00 each
The Schuyler-Hamilton House
When Martha Washington named her feral tomcat "Alexander" she was making fun of Hamilton, George Washington's young aide-de-camp and his reputation as a prolific ladies man.
Famously he settled down with Eliza Schuyler who he first courted in 1780 at a Winter's Ball at what is now called the Schuyler-Hamilton House in Morristown, New Jersey. Managed by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) the house is open to visitors on Sundays from 2-4 p.m. only. Nearby on the Morristown Green are sculptures of Hamilton, George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette.
The Schuyler-Hamilton House
5 Olyphant Place, Morristown, New Jersey 07960
Information is available by calling 973-539-7502
46 Washington St. Morristown, New Jersey 07960
When Alexander and Eliza's son Philip was tragically killed in a duel, the Hamiltons moved uptown to try and live with the unimaginable. Harlem (northern Manhattan) at that time was a peaceful countryside dotted with farms. The song "It's Quiet Uptown" paints images of Alexander walking by himself, talking to himself around his home now called the Hamilton Grange.
Though Hamilton only lived there less than two years before his own death, this house museum maintained by the National Park Service is a major point of pilgrimage for American history buffs. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also lives in northern Manhattan, visited the Grange often so it was very much in his mind as he composed the music and lyrics for "Hamilton."
In addition to the house and objects that were owned by the Hamiltons, the Grange has a fascinating exhibition about the moving of the house to its current spot in St. Nicholas Park. Today this corner of Harlem is called "Hamilton Heights."
St. Nicholas Park
414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031
Hamilton Grange National Memorial is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays year-round, except on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Please check the website for additional closures and scheduling information as the schedule does frequently change. Self-guided and ranger-led tours are available at set times throughout the day. Call (646) 548-2310 for availability.
Closed Sunday and Monday. Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. -5 p.m.
Morris Jumel Mansion
Manhattan's oldest house was built for a British Loyalist, but is most famously associated with Eliza Jumel who was briefly married to none other than Aaron Burr, Sir.
After her husband Stephen died after falling forward on a pitchfork, Madame Jumel was the richest woman in America, yet still rejected by New York Society for a lack of pedigree. At the same time, Burr, former Vice-President under Thomas Jefferson, ran in important circles but was nearly bankrupt.
The alliance which should have given each of them what they wanted ended up loathing each other. Jumel hired Hamilton's son to be her divorce attorney and their split became official on the day Burr died.
Lin-Manuel Miranda spent time in Aaron Burr's bedroom writing lyrics. He also premiered the song "Wait for It" on the steps of the Morris-Jumel Mansion during a family harvest day at the museum. (He sang it himself, having just finished writing it a few weeks before with Alex Lacamoire accompanying him on keyboard.)
The Morris-Jumel Mansion has a robust schedule of activities and programs and you never know when Miranda might show up or when neighbor Daveed Diggs might walk by with his dog.
Roger Morris Park, 65 Jumel Terrace, New York, NY 10032
Children under 12: Free
Monday: Closed to the general public, visitation by advanced appointment only
Tuesday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The museum is closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
BONUS: 57 Maiden Lane
Not technically a museum, 57 Maiden Lane was where Thomas Jefferson hung his hat in New York. There he hosted the infamous dinner where he agreed to put Hamilton's debt plan through in exchange for the U.S. capital being moved a little closer to his home in Virginia. Yes, Hamilton musical super fans, 57 Maiden Lane is "the room where it happened!"