A Well Regulated Militia: Citizen, Soldier, and State

A new exhibit for 2021!


This exhibit explores the critical institution of the militia in early American history, from colonization through nationhood, providing a unique examination of the system of defense that developed in the United States. The special exhibit includes over 100 artifacts such as rare original militia uniforms, headwear, weaponry, musical instruments, manuscripts, printed books, fine art, and accoutrements, many on display for the first time in decades.

These objects illustrate the evolution of the institution, who was obliged or expected, to serve, who authorized the militia, how militiamen were trained, how the militia was armed and equipped, and the record of the militia in actual military operations from the colonial wars through the War of 1812.