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AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America

Special Exhibition June 10 to November 27, 2017

afterward-special-exhibition The Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown in 1781 was just the beginning for the ranks of soldiers and citizens who fought for America’s independence. Follow their stories after the war in the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown’s inaugural special exhibition, “AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America.”

Opening June 10 through November 27, the special exhibition will chronicle the post-war lives of veterans of the Siege of Yorktown, including Henry Knox, Alexander Hamilton, James Lafayette, the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington and Charles Cornwallis, as well as lesser-known veterans.

“AfterWARd,” presented in a 5,000-square-foot special exhibition gallery, will explore these historical figures as veterans, allowing visitors to make connections with the lives of soldiers and veterans, past and present.

Lap desk, Alexander Hamilton, 18th century, Courtesy of Hamilton College

Lap desk belonging to Alexander Hamilton, late 18th century. Image by Marianita Peaslee. Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, Burke Library, Hamilton College.

Using artifacts, illustrations, short films and interactives, the special exhibition will examine Charles Cornwallis’ post-Revolution campaigns in India and George Washington’s visions for a new nation. Visitors will discover Henry Knox’s work as a key founder of the Society of the Cincinnati, the nation’s first veteran organization, and learn about Alexander Hamilton’s post-war life as an influential statesman who championed the still ongoing debate about the role of government in everyday life.

Visitors will experience the celebrity of the Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who returned to the United States in 1824-1825 for an American “Farewell Tour” after helping General George Washington’s Continental Army defeat the British during the American Revolution. Discover the untold story of James Lafayette, an enslaved African American from New Kent County who successfully spied on the British for the American forces, and then spent much of his life after the war seeking his own liberty from slavery.

Lafayette Carriage, c1824, Studebaker National Museum

Carriage that carried the Marquis de Lafayette on his 1824-1825 American “Farewell Tour.” Courtesy of the Studebaker National Museum of South Bend, Indiana.

The exhibition will feature artifacts on loan from American and British museums and institutions selected to illustrate Revolutionary War veterans’ ongoing contribution and influence throughout history. Among the featured items are a carriage used by the Marquis de Lafayette from the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana; a cannon seized in India by Cornwallis from the Royal Armouries in Leeds, England; and a lap desk belonging to Alexander Hamilton from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.

An interactive “Legacy Wall” multimedia display featuring stories and images of veterans from all eras of American history, will encourage visitors to add their own stories to the wall and find personal connections to the veterans of Yorktown.

Sponsored by Altria, with additional support from the National Society Sons of the American Reovlution, James D. and Pamela J. Penny, and Harry and Judy Wason.

‘AfterWARd’ Special Programs Celebrating and Connecting America’s Veterans

Jamar Jones portrays James Lafayette in “Slave Spy,” a one-act play on June 10 at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

A variety of special programs, public lectures and presentations, made possible in part by Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, will be presented in conjunction with the special exhibition:

June 10: “Slave Spy: The Story of James Lafayette,” 7 p.m. – James Lafayette’s success as a spy for American forces was instrumental in setting up the siege at Yorktown. Actor Jamar Jones presents Slave Spy, a one-man show depicting this overlooked story.  Slave Spy was written by Abigail Schumann and produced by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.  Admission is free; advance reservations recommended at (757) 253-4572. The special exhibition will be open 6-7 p.m. prior to the performance.

June 23-24: “Profiles of Honor” Traveling Exhibition, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – The “Profiles of Honor” traveling exhibition brings to life Virginia’s integral role in World War I and II and highlights stories of people who served in both conflicts. Visitors are invited to bring personal World War I and II-related photographs, letters and documents to be scanned for inclusion in the Virginia Profiles of Honor Project. Sponsored by the Virginia World War I & II Commemoration Commission. Admission to the traveling exhibition is free.

July 25: “Studebaker Goes to War!”, 7 p.m. – The Studebaker National Museum shares the story behind the carriage used by the Marquis de Lafayette during his 1824 visit to America and Studebaker’s long history of supplying vehicles to the military. Presentations by Archivist Andrew Beckman of the Studebaker National Museum and Marc Sammis of the U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis. Admission to the lecture is free; advance reservations recommended at (757) 253-4572.

August 17: Veterans Benefits Clinic, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – The American Legion answers questions about benefits, process claims, and help secure I.D. cards. Admission to the clinic is free.

August 17: “Rewarding the Soldier: Veterans’ Benefits Then and Now” Panel Discussion, 6 p.m. – Explore the history and evolution of benefits afforded to America’s military, from land warrants and pensions to medical service and the G.I. Bill. Presentations by law professors David Boelzner of the College of William and Mary and James Ridgway of George Washington University. Admission is free; advance reservations recommended at (757) 253-4572.

September 16: “Meet Alexander Hamilton,” 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. – Eben Kuhns of the American Historical Theater portrays a young Alexander Hamilton recounting the trials and tribulations of the War for Independence. Included with museum admission.

September 17: “Alexander Hamilton: Legacy of a Founding Father” Lecture, 7 p.m. – Rand Scholet, president of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society, and Michael Newton, Hamilton biographer, will discuss the ongoing impact that Alexander Hamilton has had on America as the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. Admission to the lecture is free; advance reservations recommended at (757) 253-4572.

September 29-30: “The American Soldier, 1774-2015,” 8 p.m. – Broadway actor Douglas Taurel reveals the struggles American soldiers face at war and challenges to come back home. Admission to the evening performance is $14.00.

October 5: “Brothers at Arms” Lecture, 7 p.m. – Larrie D. Ferrerio, an author, history and technology professor at George Mason University and military serviceman, discusses his book “Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It.” The book, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, explores how the American Revolution’s success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain. The paperback version of the book will be launched at the event and available for purchase. Admission to the lecture is free; advance reservations recommended at (757) 253-4572.

October 12: “The Revolutionary War Lives and Letters of Lucy and Henry Knox” Lecture, 7 p.m. – Phil Hamilton, history professor at Christopher Newport University, launches a new biography that delves into the personal life and marriage of Washington’s chief of artillery. Admission to the lecture is free; advance reservations recommended at (757) 253-4572. Books will be available for purchase.

October 18: “Lafayette’s Grand Tour of 1824” Lecture, 1:30 p.m. – Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette, recounts Lafayette’s momentous return to America 43 years after the end of the Revolution. Included with museum admission.

October 18: “Lafayette and Human Rights” Lecture, 4 p.m. – Discover how the Marquis de Lafayette’s influence in the world went beyond America’s Revolution. Diane Shaw, director of special collections at Lafayette College, traces his work with human rights. Included with museum admission.

November 11: “Stand Up Comedy Night: Veterans Take the Mic,” 8 p.m. – “Stand Up Comedy Night” features the talent of graduates of Comedy Bootcamp, a seven-week workshop offered by the Armed Forces Arts Partnership. Admission to this evening performance is $12.00.

November 15: “The Legacy of Henry Knox” Lecture, 7 p.m. – Knox Museum Curator Matthew Hansbury discusses the many contributions made by Washington’s chief of artillery in his post-war years as the nation’s first Secretary of War. A special artillery demonstration will precede the talk. Admission to the lecture is free; advance reservations recommended at (757) 253-4572.

About the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

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. A Grand Opening Celebration was held March 23-April 4, 2017.

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15-August 15), the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located at 200 Water Street, in Yorktown, Virginia. Parking is free.


2017 admission is $12.00 for adults, $7.00 for ages 6 through 12, and free for children under 6. Admission for residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg.

Members of the military can purchase in advance discounted admission tickets to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown at most military bases’ MWR/recreation offices.

Updated 8/2017