In 2007, at the opening of “Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington and the American Revolution," the museum introduced Billy the Patriot Mouse. Since then, visitors to the exhibition, especially younger ones, have enjoyed following Billy through pictures in the gallery and a book that tells his story. Museum staff, working with illustrator Sheli Petersen, created Billy to help young children engage with the exhibition. Looking out for Billy in each section of the exhibition allows families to experience the events of 1775 through his eyes (or at least imagine them).
Billy lives with the Estabrook family of Lexington and participates in happenings throughout "Seeds of Liberty." Billy steals cheese in the Loring kitchen, listens to political gossip at John Parker's wheelwright shop and watches the Lexington Tea Bonfire. After the battle at Lexington, he travels with Prince Estabrook (by pocket) and later fights with the troops in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Although Billy is placed at the eye-level of a child, he has attracted the attention of visitors of all ages. Many visitors note on comment cards that Billy is who they would most like to meet of all the people introduced in the exhibition.We hope you will seek out Billy on your next visit. The museum is open this Patriot's Day.
Illustrations by Sheli Petersen, 2007, National Heritage Museum