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The Muster Roll

Friends Speaker Series

Sponsored by the Sherrin H. and Bruce A. Baky Foundation

As part of the Friends mission to provide interesting and compelling programming for the public, the annual Speaker Series is held in cooperation with the Washington Memorial Chapel. This series, which runs from October through May, gathers an array of historians, scientists, authors, archeologists, actors and performers to share with the public their multiple points of view on history, the natural world and the ongoing commemoration of Valley Forge.

October to April presentations are free and held at Washington Memorial Chapel, on Route 23 in Valley Forge, on Tuesdays at 7 pm. The May presentation will be held in the theater at Valley Forge. A complimentary reception follows each talk.

For directions to the Chapel, visit

December 1
Seized in September: Delaware during the Revolutionary War

From the time of William Penn’s arrival in New Castle in 1683 until June 15, 1776, Delaware was officially known as the Lower Three Counties of Pennsylvania. Even after “Separation Day,” the lines between Delaware and Pennsylvania were blurred. Delaware residents, “John Dickinson of Pennsylvania” and Thomas McKean, were important leaders in both states until long after independence was observed.

Seized in September is about the Philadelphia Campaign, told by a Delawarean who objected to reading books that said, “The British landed at the Head of Elk and a few days later they fought at Chadds Ford,” with no mention of how the British got from Point A to Point B, and what happened then.

The story opens with British and Hessian plundering, with area refugees scrambling to reach Lancaster before contending British and American forces could pen them in, and with area Quakers inadvertently hosting a Council of War. The American loss at the Battle of the Brandywine was followed by the more than month-long occupation of Wilmington, including the kidnapping of Delaware’s President McKinley from his bed at night, and the subsequent occupation of the City by Smallwood’s Delaware and Maryland troops. The story ends with this contingent marching off to Valley Forge in the spring.

About the Speaker

Kim Burdick

Kim Burdick is a Cooperstown Graduate with an MA in American Folk Culture and Museum Studies. She also holds an MPA in Agency Management from the College of Urban Affairs.

Founder & Chairman of the American Revolution Round Table of Delaware, life member of American Friends of Lafayette, and Chairman Emeritus of W3R-USA, Kim is the first (and only) woman to have been elected to the Board of Delaware’s George Washington Society.

She is Chairman Emeritus of the Delaware Humanities Council and a member of the Delaware Humanities Forum’s Speakers Bureau. Kim teaches History at two local community colleges, one in Pennsylvania, the other in Wilmington.

January 5
Bruce Mowday
September 11, 1777: The Battle of Brandywine
A popular author talks about the soldiers and civilians who shaped the first big battle of the Philadelphia Campaign and sent Congress fleeing.
February 2
Elizabeth Beatty
To the Last Extremity: Fort Mifflin’s Valiant Stand
Fort Mifflin’s site director shares the history, construction, and defense of the Delaware River Fort that the British bombarded for weeks during the Revolutionary War.
March 1
Dr. Susan Christoffersen
Economics of the Valley Forge Encampment
A university professor discusses the economics of the Valley Forge encampment and suggests how lessons learned from Washington’s army can inform our decisions today.
April 5
Mary Thompson
Mount Vernon during the Revolutionary War
The research librarian at Mount Vernon gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what was happening at Washington’s Virginia home during America’s long fight for freedom.
May 3
Todd Andrlik
Reporting the Revolutionary War
Revolutionary War news coverage, as reported in the eighteenth century newspapers of Britain and the United States, and shared by the award-winning author of Reporting the Revolutionary War.

Special Location: Park Theater  •  Tickets required
Friends Members and WM Chapel donors: FREE  •  Non-members: $20