Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold at the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, an expansive history complex featuring an introductory film, immersive gallery exhibits, and living-history experiences in re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, replacing the Bicentennial-era Yorktown Victory Center, presents a renewed perspective on the meaning and impact of the Revolution. A Grand Opening Celebration runs through April 4, 2017, with a dedication April 1.
Located within the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown “Historic Triangle,” the new museum strengthens the area’s prominence as one of the nation’s premier American Revolution destinations.
Films & galleries dazzle, inform
In the 170-seat museum theater, Liberty Fever draws visitors into the world of Revolutionary America, setting the stage for indoor gallery and outdoor living-history experiences. The introductory film is narrated by an early-19th-century storyteller who has traveled the country gathering stories about the American Revolution and shares his accounts using a moving panorama presentation of the time period.
The 22,000-square-foot permanent exhibition galleries engage visitors in the tumult, drama, and promise of the Revolution through period artifacts and immersive environments, dioramas, interactive exhibits and short films, including an experiential theater that transports visitors to the Siege of Yorktown with wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire.
Among the 500 artifacts on exhibit are a Declaration of Independence broadside dating to July 1776; a June 1776 Philadelphia printing of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, one of the inspirations for the U.S. Declaration of Independence; a coronation portrait of King George III from the studio of Allan Ramsay; one of the two earliest known portraits done from life of an African who had been enslaved in the 13 British colonies that became the United States; and an extremely rare early southern American long rifle.
Interact with historical interpreters in outdoor settings
The storyline told in the museum’s permanent exhibition galleries comes to life in vibrant outdoor living-history experiences in a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. Costumed historical interpreters engage visitors in an array of hands-on activities, from military drills to processing plant fiber for cloth.
The Continental Army encampment, triple its previous size, represents a portion of an American regiment and includes tents for soldiers and officers, quarters for a surgeon and quartermaster, and a drill field and artillery amphitheater with tiered seating that from the outside looks like a redoubt. There, visitors can join an artillery crew and then see historical interpreters demonstrate its firing.
The farm features a larger house, kitchen, tobacco barn, and quarters for enslaved people, along with crop fields, corncrib, kitchen garden, and orchard. A specific 18th-century York County family serves as a frame of reference for historical interpretation.
Located at 200 Water Street in Yorktown, the museum is open 9:00am-5:00pm daily (until 6:00pm June 15-Aug. 15). Admission is $12 for adults, $7 for ages 6-2. A combination ticket is available with Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia. (888-593-4682, historyisfun.org)