Hamilton: The Exhibition showcases the story of America

Hamilton: The Exhibition showcases the story of America
Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Hamilton: The Exhibition posts new questions about Hamilton’s life and the founding of America, ultimately leaving us to ask the question — how can we leave our own legacies for future Americans?

“Hamilton: The Exhibition,”  based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster “Hamilton: An American Musical”opened today on Chicago’s Northerly Island.

Exterior of Hamilton Exhibition, Photo: Carole Kuhrt0Brewer

Exterior of Hamilton Exhibition. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Never before has something like this been done.

The question:

If you build it, will they come? This is the pricy bet that Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, creative director and set designer David Korins, producer Jeffrey Seller and team is making. 

The team has some impressive credentials and a string of successes.

If anyone can pull it off it’s them.

Exhibition lobby. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Exhibition lobby. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

After two years in the making, the exhibition is ready for its close-up. At yesterday’s press conference, Miranda called it a  “choose-your-own-adventure where you can go deep into the history and civics on parade, or you can zip through at about a dollar per minute for the $39.50 exhibit.”

A variety of merchandise is available for purchase from the socks pictured here to t-shirts, umbrellas, books and more. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

In addition to the exhibition, a variety of merchandise is available for purchase from the socks pictured here to t-shirts, umbrellas, books and more. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

After yesterday afternoon’s press conference, interviews and a trip through the gift shop, the ribbon cutting ceremony took place at 5:00 p.m. Following that, invited guests were welcome to explore the expedition when their groups were called.

Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, and set designer David Korins perform a ceremonial ribbon cutting at "Hamilton the Exhibition" on Northerly Island in Chicago on April 26, 2019 (Chicago Tribune(

Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, and set designer David Korins perform a ceremonial ribbon cutting at “Hamilton the Exhibition” on Northerly Island in Chicago on April 26, 2019 (Chicago Tribune)

If last night’s buzz and reactions to the exhibit and today’s sellout crowd are any indication of what lies ahead, it looks like this exhibition will be a winner with tickets in high demand.

If “Hamilton: The Exhibition” is a winner at its World Premiere in Chicago, it will go on tour where it will pack and unpack the 80 trucks needed to carry all its contents at each location.

What:

The crowd. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The crowd. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

“Hamilton: The Exhibition” digs deep into the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, while at the same time chronicling the American Revolution and the creation of the United States of America.  From the post in St. Croix where teenager Alexander became an indispensable trader, to the hilltop in Weehawken, NJ where Burr fatally shot Hamilton in their infamous duel, “Hamilton: The Exhibition” seeks to elucidate the powerful experience of building our country and shaping our Democracy.

 The exhibition features an audio tour narrated by the musical’s author, Lin-Manuel Miranda, along with Phillipa Soo and Christopher Jackson, who played Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and George Washington in the original Broadway production of Hamilton. Joanne B. Freeman, historical advisor and Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, also narrates. The Spanish language translations are narrated by Olga Merediz, who originated the role of Abuela Claudia in the Broadway production of In The Heights.

The Wow Factor

A replica of the Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel in "Hamilton the Exhibition" on Northerly Island in Chicago is seen on April 26, 2019. (Chicago Tribune)

A replica of the Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel in “Hamilton the Exhibition” on Northerly Island in Chicago is seen on April 26, 2019. (Chicago Tribune)

Inside the 18 galleries that make up the exhibit visitors are treated to a dynamic and interactive mix of lighting, sound, multimedia, music and historical artifacts. They are immersed in how it felt to write the way Hamilton wrote, fight the way Hamilton fought, and live the way Hamilton lived.  They’ll view many authentic artifacts and beautifully created reproductions.

I won’t say more here because I want you to discover what lies ahead by visiting the exhibition but if you want to know more before you go, check out Miranda’s “5 cool things about the exhibit” on Twitter @Lin_Manuel.

When: April 27-September 8, 2019.

Where: The exhibition is housed in a temporary airport hanger like structure (once inside the exquisite  galleries you forget this) located on Northerly Island (1535 S. Linn White Dr.)

Exterior. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Exterior. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Getting There

Shuttle. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Shuttle. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

There is parking available on Northerly Island but a fun alternative is to take the free shuttle, complete with music from the album, from the Museum Campus. You can catch it across from the Field Museum or at the Adler Planetarium parking lot. The shuttle drops riders off just a short walk from the exhibit.

Tickets: $25 + fee (children under 15)-$39.50 + fee (adults)

General information: For exhibition hours and more information about “Hamilton: The Exhibition” visit the website.

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