NPS - National Park Service

06/29/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/29/2021 07:11

National Park Service Hosts Virtual Program “The Lives of Monuments: General von Steuben” on July 8

News Release Date:
June 29, 2021

Contact:Emma Silverman, Event Coordinator

Contact:Gregory Purifoy

King of Prussia, PA -In 1915 the National German American Alliance built a statue of Baron von Steuben in what is now Valley Forge National Historical Park. The monument honored the Prussian-born Revolutionary War General at a moment of rampant anti-German sentiment in the United States. However, in recent years Steuben has been embraced in popular culture for a different aspect of his identity-as the 'gay man who saved the American Revolution.' As park visitors increasingly inquire about Steuben's sexuality, it raises the question: how should the National Park Service incorporate LGBTQ+ history into the stories it tells about the founding of our nation?

The public is invited to join presenters on Thursday, July 8th from 6 to 7:30pm Eastern for a virtual event that brings National Park Service staff, scholars, and members of the public together to discuss this topic.

Follow this link to register:

This event features a discussion between Dr. Thomas A. Foster (Howard University) and David J. Lawrence (Park Guide at Valley Forge National Historical Park). They will discuss the changing audiences of the General von Steuben Statue, how contemporary communities' desire for identification should be reflected in interpretation, and LGBTQ+ history in the Early Republic. Audience members will be invited to participate in the conversation through the chat and Q&A. We invite you to tune in ten minutes early to see a slideshow featuring images of the monument and historic queer visual culture.

This is the final installment in 'The Lives of Monuments: Memory, Revolution, and Our National Parks,' a five-part webinar series organized by Dr. Emma Silverman, National Park Service Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow. This program is made possible by the National Park Foundation with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contact [email protected] with questions.

About Valley Forge National Historical Park: Valley Forge National Historical Park is nationally significant as the location of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington. The historic landscapes, structures, objects, and archeological and natural resources at Valley Forge are tangible links to one of the most defining events in our nation's history Few places evoke the spirit of patriotism and independence, represent individual and collective sacrifice, or demonstrate the resolve, tenacity and determination of the people of the United States to be free as does Valley Forge. The Valley Forge experience is fundamental to both American history and American myth, and remains an enduring source of inspiration. Learn more online at

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at