Images and editorial supplied by Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Tells Anew the Story of the Nation’s Founding
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold as comprehensive indoor exhibits and outdoor living history capture the transformational nature and epic scale of the Revolution and its relevance today.
About the Museum
The 22,000-square-foot permanent exhibition galleries engage visitors in the tumult, drama and promise of the Revolution through nearly 500 period artifacts and immersive environments, interactive exhibits and short films, including an experiential theater that transports visitors to the Siege of Yorktown with the wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire. A vibrant outdoor living-history experience complements and enhances the storyline with a re-created Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm where costumed historical interpreters engage visitors in an array of hands-on activities, from military drills to processing plant fiber for cloth.
Don’t Just Visit the Past, Get into it with Immersive Films and Gallery Exhibits
In the 170-seat museum theater, award-winning film “Liberty Fever” introduces visitors to the world of Revolutionary America. “The Siege of Yorktown” film transports visitors into the action of America’s 1781 victory shown on a 180-degree screen with dramatic special effects, including wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire.
From innovative computer-based interactives to intriguing touchable objects, “test your knowledge” question panels and fiber-optic displays, the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown exhibition galleries offer an array of hands-on experiences that engage visitors in making a personal connection to the Revolutionary period.
A truly national perspective comes to life in exhibit settings featuring close to 500 artifacts, including 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.
Visitors Take an Active Role in History with Historical Interpreters in Outdoor Settings
In the outdoor re-created Continental Army encampment, visitors can witness artillery demonstrations and drill with wooden muskets as historical interpreters describe and depict the daily life of American soldiers. The encampment, which represents a portion of an American regiment and includes tents for soldiers and officers as well as surgeon’s and quartermaster’s quarters, allows visitors to join costumed historical interpreters on a drill field and in an artillery demonstration area where visitors can join an artillery crew and witness historical interpreters demonstrate its firing.
At the Revolution-era farm, based on a real-life 18th-century family, visitors are invited to help tend crops, process plant fiber for cloth and play 18th-century games. Situated just beyond the encampment, the farm features a larger house, kitchen and tobacco barn and a new building representing quarters for enslaved people, along with crop fields, corncrib and kitchen garden.
Experience History Through Special Programs
The museum’s special exhibition, Forgotten Soldier, opening June 29, 2019, through March 22, 2020, explores the personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans who fought on both sides of the American Revolution and their contributions in establishing the nation. A series of lectures, genealogy workshops and interpretive demonstrations with re-enactors from African American military regiments accompany the special exhibition. Special events and programs include “Liberty Celebration” in July, “Yorktown Victory Celebration” in October, “The African-American Soldier” in November, “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia” in November and “Christmastide in Virginia” in December.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located at 200 Water Street and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and until 6 p.m. from June 15 through August 15. You should allow three to four hours for your visit. 2019 admission is $15.00 for adults and $7.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are admitted free.
A value-priced combination ticket is available with Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia. Call 888-593-4682 toll free or 757-253-4838 for more information, or visit HistoryIsFun.org.