American Revolution Museum at Yorktown in Progress
New exhibition galleries, films and museum name debut October 15
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown achieved a crucial milestone with the October 15 public debut of an introductory film, permanent exhibition galleries, interactive exhibits and the new museum name. Throughout the immersive 22,000-square-foot exhibition space, visitors admired a coronation portrait of King George III, a July 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence surrounded by the names of those who signed the document, and exhibits outlining Revolutionary War conflicts in the southern states, including the Siege at Yorktown, and how America has influenced the world. After completion of a new outdoor living-history Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm, a grand opening celebration will be held in Spring 2017.
Portrait of Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford – Loyalist, Scientist – Installed in Galleries
Senior Curator Sarah Meschutt works with a mount-maker on September 1 to install a portrait of Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, in the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown exhibition galleries. Born in Massachusetts, Thompson was a Loyalist who emigrated from America and had a successful career as a scientist and inventor in Britain and on the Continent, where he was made a count in 1791. His portrait will help illustrate the story of Loyalists during the Revolution.
Films and Interactives Tested to Prepare for Public Debut of American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Exhibition Galleries on October 15
Films and interactives are tested in preparation for the public debut of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown galleries on October 15. Shown clockwise, “The Siege of Yorktown” unfolds in an experiential theater with a 180-degree surround screen. Among computer interactives are Personal Stories of the Revolution, which incorporates a personality quiz, and Battles of the Revolutionary War. Within a tavern in a re-created wharf setting, a short film chronicles the evolution in the relationship between American colonists and the British government leading to armed conflict. Inside a tent that serves as a theater, “The First Great Victory” presents the story of the 1777 Battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the Revolution.
Test Placement of Artifacts Precedes Permanent Installation
Test installation of artifacts in display cases is underway in the permanent exhibition galleries. Pictured on August 1, in the first case visitors will encounter as they enter the galleries, are (top to bottom) a British Pattern 1742 land service musket dated 1741, a circa 1745 French Model 1728 (St. Etienne) musket, a circa 1750 early American (probably Virginia) long rifle, and an American powder horn inscribed “Jabez Hall 1757,” all in the collection of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. The socket bayonets next to the British and French muskets are on loan from a private collection.
Construction Progresses on Revolution-era Farm and Visitor Amenities Buildings
A log kitchen with an attached brick chimney a is taking shape at the Revolution-era farm site (top image). Construction also is underway on a visitor amenities building located next to the farm. One section of the amenities building will be accessible from the farm, the other from a future picnic area and visitor parking. Photographed on July 23, 2016.
Gallery Exhibit Space Taking Shape
Photographs of the exhibition galleries on June 30, 2016, present a view of the Declaration of Independence exhibit from inside the tent-like theater where the “The First Great Victory” will be shown, and exhibit space where a life-size statue of George Washington that once stood in the U.S. House of Representatives will be placed.
Special Effects Testing in Siege Theater
Special effects testing is underway on June 16, 2016, in the “The Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater located within the permanent exhibition gallery space. During the eight-minute film, the audience will experience smoke, wind, smells (gunpowder, sea water and coffee), and rumbling seats.
Eagle Sculpture Crowns Yorktown Museum Building Entrance
“Freedom’s Sentinel,” an 18-foot-wide, 500-pound sculpture depicting an eagle mantling two eaglets between its outspread wings, has been installed on the pediment crowning the main entrance of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown building and is on public view as of May 20, 2016. The work was sculpted by nationally prominent artist David H. Turner, who also created “A Fair Wind” at Jamestown Settlement’s Quadricentennial Plaza.
“Freedom’s Sentinel” was selected as the name for the eagle sculpture through a process involving Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation staff and board members. A stars-and-stripes shield on the eagle’s chest represents the 13 colonies at the time of the Revolution, and the two eaglets reflect the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown’s mission to educate future generations.
Life-cast figures in place
Several of the figures created by EIS Studio for gallery settings, photographed on May 9, 2016, are in place – a cargo handler and foundry worker in a wharf setting in “The Changing Relationship – Britain and North America” section, and occupants of re-created room interiors in the “Revolution“ section.
French cannon tube in production
This full-scale model of a French siege cannon tube, 10 feet in length, shown in production at Turner Sculpture on April 7, 2016, will be displayed outside the Siege of Yorktown experiential theater in the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown galleries.