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A trip to ... Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, NY

Your complete field guide to make the most of your visit

A trip to ... Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site

84 Liberty St., Newburgh, NY 12550
845-562-1195 nysparks.com

Changes due to Covid-19:
While our grounds are open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm, and Sunday, 1pm – 5pm, the Museum and Headquarters tours are by reservation only due to Covid-19. Please note that some services are unavailable at this time Call 845-562-1195 for additional information.

Washington’s Headquarters, the first publicly owned historic site in the nation, is a great place to experience the history of the American Revolution. Learn about the important decisions that were made during that time right in Newburgh that shaped the future of the country. On your visit, be sure to take a guided tour of the Hasbrouck House that Washington used as his headquarters, see the museum building and its interesting exhibits and explore the scenic grounds which are home to several monuments to the events of the American Revolution.

Before You Arrive

Before you visit, here are a few words that you should be familiar with. You will hear them a lot at Washington’s Headquarters.

  • Revolution – When a group of people try to replace their government with a new one.

  • Solider – A member of an army.

  • Headquarters – The main office where the leaders of an army work.

  • Parlor – A room in a house used for spending time with guests.

  • Spectacles – Another word for a pair of eye glasses.

  • Quill pen – A writing utensil made from a feather by making the end of the shaft into a point.

  • Aide de Camp – A member of a military that assists a higher ranking member of the military.

  • Commander-in-Chief – The person who has complete control over an army.

  • Camp Bed – A light bed that can be folded so it can be easily carried and stored.

  • Guard – A person whose job is to protect something or someone.

While you are at Washington’s Headquarters

What you will need: A pencil, a notepad.

Hasbrouck House

Washington’s Headquarters was a busy place. While George Washington was staying there, you would have seen many people with different jobs. Make a list of the following individuals. (Must make a reservation for a tour)  As you take the guided tour, whenever you hear about one of these individuals, cross them off of your list.

  • General Washington
  • Servants
  • Solider
  • Guard (Commander-in-Chief's Guard)
  • Martha Washington
  • Aide de Camp
  • Officer
  • Guest

General Washington made some very important decisions while he was at Headquarters in Newburgh that influenced the future of the United States. Make a list of the following actions. As you take the guided tour, cross out each of these actions when you hear about them.

  • Wrote the Circular Letter
  • Created the Badge of Military Merit
  • Responded to Colonel Nicola's Letter
  • Wrote his response to the Newburgh Conspiracy
  • Announced the "Cessation of Hostilities" that ended the fighting of the Revolutionary War


The Museum building has objects not just from the Revolutionary War, but all through American and world history! When exploring our second floor exhibit, use the number tags from each object to look them up in the kiosks and learn more about them. Pick some objects and write down something about them.

What time does the object come from?

Object #:


Where did the object come from?

Object #:


Who used this object?

Object #:


What was the object used for?

Object #:


When you go home

After you leave Washington’s Headquarters, you can still learn more! Below are a few activities that you can do after you get back from the site.

Make your own Badge of Military Merit

When George Washington was staying at his Headquarters in Newburgh, he decided to create the Badge of Military Merit, a badge designed to honor soldiers who did great things no matter what their rank was. That badge later became the award that today we call the Purple Heart. Create your own Badge of Military Merit at home!

What you will need:  A white crayon or colored pencil, purple and white construction paper, glue, scissors, and white streamer paper (optional)

  • Step 1
    •      Take your sheet of purple construction paper and fold it in half
    •      Make a dot on the fold of the paper, then 4 inches below it, make another dot
    •      Draw half of a heart shape starting at the top dot, and ending at the bottom
    •      Cut out the shape and unfold your paper. Now you have a purple heart
  • Step 2
    •      Do the same with your white construction paper, but this time make your dots     
           4.5 inches apart  
    •      Draw your half-heart shape like before and cut out. Now you have a white heart

  • Step 3
    •      Place your white heart on the table, and then put your purple heart over it in the
    •      Glue the purple heart over the white heart. The purple heart shape should look 
           like it has a white border around it.
    •      Use your white colored pencil or white crayon to write the word "MERIT" right
           across the middle of the purple heart. Then draw some little leaves around the
           outside of the purple heart. Use the image below as an example.

Merit heart

  • Step 4
    •     Optional: If you want, cut a length of streamer paper, then in the middle of the
          streamer paper, glue your badge. Then glue the ends of the streamer together.
          This way you can wear your badge around your arm or around your body like a

You are finished! Enjoy your very own badge of military merit.


A Letter to General Washington

What you will need:  A piece of paper, a pen or pencil, an envelope and a stamp.

Pretend that you are writing a letter to General George Washington just as he is getting ready to leave his headquarters in August of 1783. Tell him about your visit, what you thought about his headquarters, and what you learned while you were there. If you would like, you can send your letter back to his headquarters.

            Mail it to:

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site

            Attn: General Washington
            P.O. Box 1783

            Newburgh, NY 12550

Thank you for visiting Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site! The headquarters is always doing new special events too, so keep an eye out in your newspapers, online or on our Facebook page for something new and different happening. Please let us know what you thought of the site or these activities by calling 845-562-1195 or sending us an email at Elyse.Goldberg@parks.ny.gov.