Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence

Pictured, from left, Emma Stratton, American Independence Museum, and Carlos Maldonado, Kennebunk Savings, prepare for Exeter's public reading of the Declaration of Independence, taking place at 2:00 p.m. on July 17.

EXETER —Kennebunk Savings will sponsor one of the American Independence Festival’s enduring traditions, the public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

On July 10, 17, and 24, at 2:00 p.m., the Declaration of Independence will be read aloud as part of the Festival’s in-person events. A virtual reading will also air on the museum’s website on July 16.

The declaration will be read by Greg Gilman. He is the direct descendant of John Taylor Gilman, who read the Declaration of Independence to the townspeople of Exeter on July 16, 1776. A copy of the Dunlap Broadside, the Declaration of Independence’s first printing, will be on display in Folsom Tavern and is one of the festival’s highlights.

“What is so special about the American Independence Museum and this festival in particular is that it illuminates a pivotal chapter in our nation’s history,”said Carlos Maldonado, Retail Experience Manager at Kennebunk Savings. “Seeing the words on a page is one thing, but hearing and seeing it recited this way truly brings history to life.”

Celebrating the arrival of the Declaration of Independence in Exeter on July 16, 1776, the American Independence Festival features a variety of entertainment, including music, military demonstrations, traditional artisan working village, and more. Sponsored by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, this year’s festival includes in-person events spanning the month of July.

To learn more, or purchase tickets, visit

Home to a world-class collection of 3,000 historic artifacts, the museum is currently developing a variety of public and education programs in digital formats to encourage digital inclusion for all ages.

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