Whether you snagged tickets to see the show or not, there are plenty of ways to join in on the “Hamilton” craze that’s descended upon Schenectady this week.
From the history-heavy programs, where one can parse fact from fiction, to the more musical events, where one can belt out their favorite tune from the show, here are some ways you can go #hamforham outside of the theater.
-- The Schenectady County Historical Society is offering up a chance to walk in Alexander Hamilton’s footsteps. From 10:30 to noon on Saturday, history buffs will guide attendees through a walking tour of Schenectady, discussing the travels of Hamilton and some of his contemporaries and how the American Revolution manifested in the city. $10 per ticket. The tour starts at 32 Washington Ave. Registration required. For more info call 518-374-0263.
-- Test out your “Hamilton” knowledge with a trivia contest at the Karen B. Johnson Schenectady County Public Library from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Get together with a team of two to six people to answer questions on Lin-Manuel Miranda, the cast of the show, the music and other facts contestants don’t have to have seen the show to know. The library is located at 99 Clinton St. For more info call 518-388-4500.
-- Just down the road from the Schuyler Mansion, the Albany Institute of History and Art has delved into some of the key characters in “Hamilton,” with its latest exhibition, “The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle.” Angelica, Eliza and Peggy Schuyler are all highlighted through visual art, as well as historical objects. There’s the wedding ring of Eliza Hamilton, a portrait of Angelica and more from that era, including a lock of Hamilton’s hair and a watch fob from Aaron Burr. Gallery talks run from 1-2 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. For more infovisit albanyinstitute.org. .
-- At 611 Union St., they’ll be celebrating the Founding Fathers with thematic culinary offerings. Bartenders will be serving up Founder’s Fig (Jim Beam with mint, brown sugar and fig compote) and Steak Hamilton; a 14 oz. seasoned NY strip, au poivre with fresh peppercorns and a cognac bordelaise sauce. Show attendees receive 10% off and happy hour pricing before and after the show. The Lounge at Glen Sanders Mansion will also be serving up “Hamilton” themed cocktails, including the Founder’s Fig, Brandy Alexander Hamilton, Burrbon Manhattan and Gentleman’s Agreement.
-- Just after “Hamilton” departs from Proctors, the Schenectady County Public Library is bringing “Hamiltunes” to the Electric City. From 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, fans of the show can sing along to the music at the officially licensed performance. Song assignments will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Attendees are encouraged to look the part too, with period costumes.
-- Union College is no stranger to how much history can stir people up. In 2018, after a lock of George Washington’s hair was discovered in the college’s special collections department, everyone wanted to know the story of how it got there. Major news outlets like CNN, The New York Times and the Washington Post wrote about the discovery at the time, but one Union student was hoping to go deeper with it. Andrew Cassarino, who graduated in 2018, was working on his senior thesis about the role of slavery in the college’s founding, connecting some of the early founders, including the Schuylers, with slavery. Thus, when Union’s India Spartz started working on a new exhibition about Washington’s hair and the history of the college, she brought Cassarino on as a guest curator.
Together they curated “Digging Deeper: How Hair, Hamilton, and a Burial Ground Brought New Light to the Schuyler Family and the Founding of Union College,” which opened earlier this week at the Schaffer Library.
Through letters, the lock of hair, photos and other documents, the exhibition tells the tale of how the hair got in the special collections section in the first place and, as one might suspect, it has to do with Hamilton.
Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, the daughter of Major General Philip John Schuyler (principal founder of Union College), were socially connected to President George Washington. When Washington died in 1799, his wife gave locks of his hair to close friends and associates. Evidently, the Hamiltons fell into that category. Thus, it makes sense that the lock of hair would eventually make its way to the Schuyler family, and would eventually be found at Union College tucked in “Gaine’s Universal Register,” which recorded Philip J. Schuyler’s real estate and business transactions.
The exhibition delves into how some of the college’s first buildings were constructed by slaves and how the burial site of Schuyler’s slaves was discovered in 2005 in Schuylerville at the Schuyler Flatts burial site. Lisa Anderson, a bioarchaeologist at the New York State Museum, led a team of scientists in uncovering and the bones at the site and creating facial reconstructions of some of the people buried there.
To see the exhibition, visit Schaffer Library between 9 a.m.and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more info visit union.edu.