Mark your calendars! The grand opening celebration of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is March 23-April 4, 2017, officially launching the impressive new museum that replaces the Yorktown Victory Center. Through comprehensive indoor exhibits and outdoor living history, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown offers a truly national perspective, conveying a sense of the transformational nature and epic scale of the Revolution and the richness and complexity of the country’s Revolutionary heritage. Please join us in Yorktown for this exciting family-friendly event. More details about the museum and grand opening event are below…
March 23-April 4, 2017, Event Launches American Revolution Museum at Yorktown With Salute to 13 Original Colonies
The Grand Opening Celebration of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will commence with 13 days of festivities on March 23-April 4, 2017, with a patriotic salute to America’s 13 original states, a dedication ceremony on April 1, tours of expansive gallery exhibits, and military music and 18th-century interpretive experiences in the newly expanded Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.
Ceremonies honoring the legacy of the first 13 states in the United States of America will take place each day in the order that they ratified the Constitution – Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. A dedication ceremony on April 1, featuring Virginia, will officially launch the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
States will be recognized in the museum lobby with informational displays about each state’s Revolutionary War history, as well as tourism and heritage organizations. Each day will begin with a midday ceremony honoring the featured state with welcoming remarks and presentation of the state flag, followed by an Honor Guard procession along the Grand Corridor to the outdoor re-created Continental Army encampment’s artillery amphitheater for a flag-raising ceremony and artillery salute.
Throughout each day, visitors will be able to learn more about each state and its Revolutionary War history through a variety of educational programs, special guided tours of new exhibition galleries, and interpretive programs in the newly expanded Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. Children’s games and activities will round out the festivities.
New Exhibits 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 close to 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.
The galleries present five major themes. The British Empire and America examines the geography, demography, culture and economy of America prior to the Revolution and the political relationship with Britain.
The Changing Relationship – Britain and North America chronicles the growing rift between the American colonies and Britain. Within a full-scale wharf setting, issues of taxation and importation are brought into focus.
Revolution traces the war from the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 to victory at Yorktown in 1781 and the aftermath. The wartime homefront is portrayed in three-dimensional settings that provide a backdrop for the stories of diverse Americans – Patriots and Loyalists, women, and enslaved and free African Americans.
The New Nation outlines the challenges faced by the United States in the 1780s – weak government under the Articles of Confederation, the unstable postwar economy and new social tensions – culminating with the creation of the Constitution as a framework for the future.
The American People explores the emergence of a new national identity following the Revolution – influenced by immigration, internal migration, and demographic, political and social changes. This section shows how the nation’s struggle for independence impacted not just America, but the world.
Visitors Interact With Historical Interpreters in Outdoor Settings
The living-history Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm continue as an integral part of the museum experience while undergoing reconstruction and enhancement to support gallery storylines and expand capacity for visitor-participatory demonstrations.
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, is adding a drill field and an artillery demonstration area with tiered seating that from the outside looks like a redoubt.
Situated just beyond the encampment, the farm will have a larger house, kitchen and tobacco barn and a new building representing quarters for enslaved people, along with crop fields, corncrib, kitchen garden and orchard. A specific 18th-century York County family has been identified to serve as a frame of reference for historical interpretation.
The encampment and farm remain open throughout construction. Visitors are invited to engage in an array of hands-on activities, from military drills to processing plant fiber for cloth.
The outdoor elements of the new museum will be complete in time for the grand opening celebration, March 23- April 4, 2017.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Continues a Revolutionary Tradition
Located within the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown “Historic Triangle” and next to Yorktown National Battlefield, the Yorktown Victory Center opened in 1976 as one of three Virginia visitor centers for the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the state agency that operates the Yorktown Victory Center and Jamestown Settlement, implemented structural and exhibit improvements in the 1990s, broadening the museum’s focus to encompass the entire Revolution.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is the realization of a master plan adopted in 2007. The plan called for replacing the 1976 facility, with the new building positioned on the 22-acre site to allow for continued operation throughout construction, and repositioning and reconstructing the encampment and farm.
A new 80,000-square-foot building opened in March 2015, with a theater for showings of Revolution-theme films, an illustrated timeline spanning the second half of the 18th century, and a gift shop and cafe. An important element of the new building is an education center, with five classrooms and a separate entrance, to serve student groups and the general public with dynamic, interactive learning experiences.
Planning, building and exhibit construction, and renovations to the site, including living-history areas, are funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Major components of the project total approximately $50 million. Private donations to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Campaign for Support are funding elements of gallery and outdoor exhibits, artifact acquisitions, and educational resources. Leadership donors to the campaign, with gifts and grants of more than $500,000 each, include Dominion Resources, Sue and John Gerdelman, and York County.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Facts
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, which replaces the Yorktown Victory Center, tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Comprehensive indoor exhibits and outdoor living history capture the transformational nature and epic scale of the Revolution and its relevance today.
On Route 1020 in Yorktown; adjacent to Colonial National Historical Park, which encompasses Yorktown Battlefield, and 12 miles from Williamsburg. Six miles from Interstate 64, Exit 247. GPS address: 200 Water Street, Yorktown, VA 23690.
Yorktown was the site of the climactic battle of the American Revolution. In early fall 1781, Generals Washington and Rochambeau had the British army trapped along the shores of the York River. The allied American and French armies had all of the land routes blocked. The French navy blockaded escape by sea. General Cornwallis had no option but to surrender to the combined forces.
Hours of Operation
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round, until 6 p.m. June 15 through August 15. Closed on New Year’s and Christmas days. Allow a minimum of two hours for a visit.
$12.00 adults, $7.00 ages 6-12. Value-priced combination ticket with Jamestown Settlement: $23.00 adults, $12.00 ages 6-12. Discount for groups of 15 or more. Annual pass with Jamestown Settlement: $38.00 adults, $19.00 ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Parking is free.
The gift shop complements and extends the museum experience with a comprehensive selection of books, prints, artifact reproductions, educational toys and games, jewelry and mementos. A café with seasonal food service and year-round snack and beverage vending offers seating indoors and on an outside patio. A museum admission ticket is not required to visit the gift shop or cafe.
Opened April 1, 1976, as one of three Bicentennial centers in Virginia. In the 1990s, the museum’s focus broadened to encompass the entire American Revolution. Work began in mid-2012 on transforming the Yorktown Victory Center into the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The project included reorganization of the 22-acre site, an 80,000-square-foot structure encompassing expanded exhibition galleries, classrooms and support functions, and enlarged and enhanced outdoor living-history areas. Museum operations transitioned to the new museum building in late winter 2015, as work continued on development of permanent exhibition galleries, an introductory film, and the outdoor encampment and farm. The film and galleries debuted on October 15 and 16, 2016, along with the new museum name, and a grand opening celebration March 23-April 4, 2017, officially launches the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Inquiries from the general public should be directed to (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or www.historyisfun.org.