David Rittenhouse posthumous portrait Artist: Charles Willson Peale, 1796

David Rittenhouse posthumous portrait
Artist: Charles Willson Peale, 1796

David Rittenhouse

Through the Founders’ Lens

David Rittenhouse was highly regarded by the Founding Fathers, and his works as astronomer, surveyor, maker of models of the solar system, treasurer of the state of Pennsylvania inspired respect and admiration among the group of legislators which gathered periodically in Philadelphia.

The man born in the Homestead at Rittenhouse Town went on to map the wilderness of a new nation, explain phenomena in the heavens, and confer with the Franklin, Jefferson, Washington and Madison. David Rittenhouse was humble yet brilliant, a scholar and a technician, a self-taught educator of educators, an entrepreneur and public servant.  By the time of his death, he had become the new nation’s favorite example of what Americans could contribute to the Enlightenment.

This exhibit in the Homestead illustrates Rittenhouse’s accomplishments with instruments of his own making, along with books he held in his hands and papers signed by his pen.

The David Rittenhouse exhibit was opened in 2016 in the upper room of the RittenhouseTown Homestead. For several years it has remained an enlightening and informative walkthrough of the life and legacy of David Rittenhouse.

Special thanks to Susan Bockius for the months of research and hard work that went into curating the exhibit, and her continued presence as a guide and teacher. Thanks also to Myles Pettengill for making the physical implementation of the exhibit possible, and to the Germantown Historical Society for their gracious lending of several historical items.

On behalf of Historic RittenhouseTown, please enjoy this video walkthrough and thank you for visiting!