It’s not often that you get a behind-the-scenes look at a museum before it opens. It’s difficult to imagine how it will look when it’s finished. With open-studded walls, wires hanging from the ceiling, and only a few walls covered with drywall, there is still much to do before priceless artifacts can be added.
The new 80,000 square foot American Revolution Museum at Yorktown should open later this year. It will replace the smaller Yorktown Victory Center, built for the Bicentennial. The old museum building and original outdoor displays will be replaced by an expanded Continental Army Encampment, soldiers tents, officers quarters, and regimental features including quarters for a colonel surgeon and quartermaster.
A large Revolutionary-era farm will reflect archaeological and documented research, with a specific 18th century York County family as their reference. The log structure will be larger with a simple chimney. Outbuildings will include a corn crib and work shed. There will also be period-correct crop fields, a kitchen garden, and an orchard.
The new expanded museum will capture the essence of the American Revolution. It will cover five major themes:
“The British Empire in America” will examine the geology, demography, culture, and economy of America prior to the Revolution.
“The Changing Relationship-Britain and North America” will detail the growing rift between the American colonies and Britain. In a wharf setting, it explores taxation and importation.
“The Revolution” covers the battles in Lexington and Concord in 1775 through the victory at Yorktown in 1781.
“The New Nation” details the challenges of a weak government under the articles of confederation, the unstable post-war economy, and new social tensions.
“The American People” celebrates the emergence of a new national identity with immigration and internal migration issues, plus demographic, political, and social changes.
A 180-degree theater will place you in the middle of the action. We heard that you will smell the gunpowder when the cannon fires.
That’s right! Smell-a-vision! I’m looking forward to a future visit to see all the new displays, walk around the farm, and study the encampment. You can be sure that I will be in the a front row for the new interactive film, sniffing for the scent of gunpowder.
It’s Your Turn
What: American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Where: Yorktown, Virginia
Why: Get to know your American history up close and personal
Keep up with the progress of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to plan your visit later this year.