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Hamilton hype keeping Schuyler Mansion staff busy

Hamilton hype keeping Schuyler Mansion staff busy

Site will be filled with period re-enactors, musicians, food and drink
Hamilton hype keeping Schuyler Mansion staff busy
The site will be offering all varieties of Colonial-era food and drink at its annual “Salutations of the Season” event.
Photographer: Provided

Alexander Hamilton isn't the only individual luring visitors to the Schuyler Mansion in Albany these days.

While the blockbuster Broadway musical, "Hamilton," focuses on the life of the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, Lin-Manuel Miranda's masterpiece also sheds some light on the Schuyler sisters, most notably Eliza, who married Hamilton, and Angelica, who may have had an affair with him. A third sister, Peggy, was also a close confidant of her brother-in-law's, although historians seem to agree their relationship was strictly platonic.

To learn more about the Founding Father and his connection to one of Albany's first families, you can visit the Schuyler Mansion Saturday from 4-7 p.m. for "Salutations of the Season," the site's annual event held the first weekend of each year.

"We've been doing this for a number of years now and it's become more and more popular each year," said Heidi Hill, site manager at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site and at Crailo just across the Hudson River in Rensselaer. "Many of the Dutch here in the colony celebrated 12th Night because at the time it was just more festive a holiday than Christmas. Christmas was more of a religious observance."

The Schuyler Mansion will be filled with period re-enactors, musicians and food and drink from that time period - around 1750-1800 -  when the Schuylers were arguably the most important family in upstate New York.  Hamilton's father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, was a general during the American Revolution and had married into the prominent Van Rensselaer family, cementing both his high cultural and financial status in the colony. 

His home, located in Albany's South End, had always been a favorite site for history buffs, but with the success of the Broadway show in 2016, theater fans also started showing up in droves.

"While I was familiar with the play, I had no idea back in 2016 that the popularity of the show would have such an instantaneous effect on us," said Michelle Mavigliano, interpretive programs assistant at the mansion. "By July and August of that year we were inundated with people, most of them osessed 'Hamilton' fans."

Typically closed from December to May every year, the mansion has remained open on Thursdays and Saturdays for special "Hamilton" tours. Also, another tour recently created by Hill and her staff at the mansion is the "Women of Schuyler Mansion Tour." Currently tours are given every Thursday and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. They are by reservation only and this weekend's tours are filled up.

"The new tour starts with the Schuyler sisters from the musical, but then it moves on to the other sisters, Mrs. Schuyler and the enslaved women and tenant farm women that lived there," said Hill. "It's all based on letters and other primary documents we have in our collection."

"The show's been a great boon for us, and it's brought an entirely new audience to the mansion," added Mavigliano. "How many 13-year-old girls want to get together with their friends and come to the Schuyler Mansion. And there weren't just three sisters, there were five. While the musical takes a lot of artistic leeway, our tour tells the real story of the Schuyler women."

The Crailo State Historic Site, where Schuyler's wife Catherine was raised, is holding an event in conjunction with Schuyler Mansion, also on Saturday from 4-7 p.m. An $8 ticket gets visitors into both sites.

'Salutations of the Seasons'

WHERE: Schuyler Mansion, 32 Catherine St., Albany
WHEN: 4-7 p.m. Saturday
HOW MUCH: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, $2 for children under 12 (includes Crailo admission)
MORE INFO: 518-434-0834, or visit Schuyler Mansion on Facebook.

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