Topics & Discussions on the Life and Customs of Western Pennsylvania

The Bradford House Museum and Washington & Jefferson College present

The Symposium on Life and Customs in Western Pennsylvania


An Evening with the Marquis de Lafayette


Friday April 3rd, 2020 The Chapel at Old Main, Washington & Jefferson College Washington PA

6:30 p.m. Doors and displays open
7:00 p.m. Speakers
9:00 p.m. Reception and displays

Advance ticket purchase $18 per person until noon, March 30.

$20 per person at the door

Purchase Tickets

The 2020 Symposium will feature the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette came from an extremely prominent family in France. He traveled to the United States in search of adventure and prestige; Lafayette’s youthful idealism and courage brought him to a session of Congress in Philadelphia.

When Lafayette offered to pay his own expenses in the colonial fight for independence, Congress appointed him a major-general. The next day, Lafayette met General George Washington and this was the start of a lifelong father-son relationship between the two men. At the Battle of Brandywine, Lafayette’s first battle, the young soldier sustained a leg wound that took more than 2 months to heal.

But he served gallantly and with courage, inspiring others. Young Lafayette was a skilled soldier, an impassioned speaker, an influential motivator, a committed diplomat, a Mason. During his US tour in 1825, Lafayette traveled along the National Road through Washington, Pennsylvania, staying at the Globe Inn on Main Street on May 25.

Benjamin Goldman began his acting career at a young age. Active in his high school’s theater program, Ben continued to pursue his dramatic passion at New York University, studying Dramatic Literature and French. In 2007, the American Historical Theatre tapped Ben to portray the young Lafayette, who was 19 at the Battle of Brandywine.

When the White House commissioned AHT to create and perform On Fire For Liberty, Goldman was the natural choice for the Marquis de Lafayette. The two-person play highlighted the friendship between two people, MDL and George Washington, and between two countries, France and the emerging United States. On Fire For Liberty was performed with great success in the East Room of the White House for guests that included President George W. Bush and French Republic President Nicolas Sarkozy.

President Sarkozy prided himself on knowing who was French and who was not, but laughed heartily when he discovered that Ben was native to the United States and not to France. Ben’s resemblance to Lafayette, his excellent French vocabulary and accent, as well as his quick mind all combine for a dramatic, authentic portrayal of the passionate patriot.

Tickets are $20 per person at the door. Pre-register online for $18 each or by calling 724.222.3604, with a check mailed to the Bradford House, PO Box 537, Washington PA 15301. Preregistration closes on March 30 at noon.


2020 Symposium Sponsored by Washington & Jefferson College.


Student Poster Session Contest

Online registration is open now through Feb. 28 for the annual Bradford House Museum Poster Contests, open to all middle and high school students (public, parochial, cyber and home-schooled) in Washington, Greene, Allegheny, Fayette and Westmoreland Counties, on a topic of Western Pennsylvania history, 1750 – 1850. Students are required to research and construct a presentation on a standard size trifold display board for delivery to the Bradford House in early March. For complete rules, hints for developing a project, and a list of possible topics, go to and look under the education tab.

Winning projects will be displayed at the Symposium on 18th Century Life and Customs in Western Pennsylvania, An Evening with the Marquis de Lafayette, on March 27, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. The symposium is co-sponsored by Washington & Jefferson College and is held in the Chapel in Old Main. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $20 per person; preregister online for $18.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top 5 entries in each division: Middle School (grades 5-8) and High School (grades 9-12).

You can register for the poster contest by mailing the completed poster registration form (See link below) to the Bradford House, PO Box 537, Washington, PA 15301 or you can email it to


Poster Registration

Poster Rules

Poster Contest prizes generously provided by: