For five years now, Great Performances has had the privilege of collaborating with the DiMenna Children’s History Museum at the New-York Historical Society to create a menu for its annual Family Benefit Party. Each year, the museum creates a theme around historical figures and provides activities to engage children with history. Our goal is to tie the food into these themes while still providing kids with something they’ll want to eat.
This year, for the museum’s 5th Annual Benefit, the theme was Alexander Hamilton. Each floor focused on a different period in his life: from childhood in the Caribbean, through the Revolutionary War and his years working as one of our Founding Father, and ending in the infamous duel with Aaron Burr. We had fun collaborating with the kitchen and design teams to create food stations that evoked life at Valley Forge, at New York City’s Fraunces’ Tavern, and in the newly created United States.
For Valley Forge, we created a Bannock station to illustrate to kids how breads were cooked over a fire.
For the Founding Fathers years, the design team re-created Fraunces’ Tavern. There, kids could try Possum Burgers (really hamburgers), Squirrel Burgers (actually chicken sandwiches), and Wild Turkey hot dogs.
We also created a salmon and bagel station because salmon was so plentiful in colonial America that there was a law saying government workers couldn’t be given more than two salmon meals a day.
One of the activities during the event was to help decorate a float. The float was a replica of the Hamilton ship float that was featured in a New York City parade honoring Hamilton and others after winning the Revolutionary War. Once the kids added their artwork to the float, they climbed onto the float and were given a mug of ginger beer to “Raise a Glass to Freedom.”
To further tie into the theme, we dressed the GP staff in costumes. All of the waiters wore colonial Jabots with their standard vest.
The party was such a success that the New-York Historical Society is contemplating having an adult party!