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Discover more about Commodore Barry; See His Sword on Display!

September 13, 2023
All day
Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S 3rd St
Philidelphia, PA 19106 United States



The Museum of the American Revolution will soon have the honor of displaying the sword of Commodore John Barry, the first commissioned officer of the United States Navy, just in time for Commodore Barry Day on Sept. 13! The sword, which John F. Kennedy once displayed in the Oval Office, returns to Philadelphia for the first time since 1939. Follow the link below to read about Barry and his connection with President Kennedy with a past Read the Revolution. Plus, learn about the lives of other sailors and Irish soldiers, including one who fought for the British.


President Kennedy & The Sword

President Kennedy decided to display Barry’s sword in the Oval Office during his presidency, from 1961 to 1963, due to the President’s own naval service during WWII and his Irish ancestry. County Wexford, where John Barry was born, is also the ancestral home of President Kennedy. The sword will be on loan from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.








Read the Revolution: John Barry: An American Hero

Learn more about how Commodore John Barry was able to secure a stunning victory after his ship, the Alliance, was attacked by two British ships in John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail by Tim McGrath. Barry commanded his besieged troops with unwavering persistence, even after grapeshot ripped through his shoulder.

Read More








Cost of Revolution | Virtual Exhibit

This online exhibit was adapted from the onsite special exhibit of the same name, which ran at the Museum from September 2019 through March 2020. Explore the virtual exhibit and follow the story of Irish soldier and artist Richard Mansergh St. George, whose personal trauma and untimely death provide a window into the entangled histories of the American Revolution of 1776 and the Irish Revolution of 1798.







Rebels at Sea 

Watch author Eric Jay Dolin discuss how privateers were critical to the outcome of the Revolutionary War. Presenting the maritime world of James Forten, featured in the Museum’s Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia special exhibit, with tales of daring maneuvers at sea from his latest book, Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution.


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Museum of the American Revolution