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Pilgrims, Patriots, and Products: Selling the Colonial Image

Plymouth Rock Gelatine
Gelatine, Plymouth Rock Gelatine Company, Boston, undated advertising pamphlet

Pilgrims, Patriots, and Products explores how the marketplace has exploited a mythical image of America's colonial past. This entertaining and thought-provoking panel exhibition examines how advertisers have used romanticized imagery about America's past to sell commercial products, a practice that continues even to this day. In response to economic uncertainties, labor unrest, rapid industrialization and urbanization, and a rise in immigration, Americans in the decades after the country's 1876 Centennial looked to their colonial past for validation and reassurance. The exhibition panels are divided into eight sections: architecture, furniture, household furnishings and products, appliances, silver, food, clothing, and Priscilla Alden, who became an icon of the Puritan era. Each panel contains colorful reproductions of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century product catalogs, trade cards, advertisements, calendars, and posters. The exhibition is easily augmented by objects found in most history museum collections and by present-day ephemera.


  • Nine panels, text and images 
  • Two framed prints of John and Priscilla Alden
  • A videotape is available


Fee: $1,500 for a three-month period plus one-way shipping. Please contact us for a full checklist.

Pilgrims, Patriots, and Products: Selling the Colonial Image