Since its founding in 1783, the Society has been assembling a collection of artifacts and artworks that now helps document the history of this important institution. The first object the Society acquired was in 1787, when it commissioned Philadelphia craftsmen to make a mahogany document box to hold its archives (which has long been outgrown). Today, the museum collections feature portraits of prominent Society members, artistic depictions of Society namesake Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Eagle insignias, Society porcelain patterns, commemorative objects, and artifacts related to the fourteen constituent societies. The majority of these objects dates to the Society's founding era and relates to those Revolutionary War veterans who became original members.
Society of the Cincinnati Eagles
The museum holds the largest collection of Society Eagle insignias of any institution in the world. Designed by Pierre L'Enfant, the first Eagles were made in Paris in 1784 by Duval and Francastel. Since then, American and French jewelers including Jeremiah Andrews, Tiffany & Company, and Arthus Bertrand have produced Eagles in varying forms. The museum collections include more than sixty examples, foremost among them the Diamond Eagle, which French naval officers commissioned for George Washington in 1784 and became the badge of office of the Society's president general.
Portraits of Past Presidents General
More than twenty-five portraits commemorate the men who have held the office of president general of the Society of the Cincinnati, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Morgan Lewis, and Hamilton Fish. These works of art link the Society's founders to its modern leaders in a tradition of service to their "One Society of Friends."