AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America
Special Exhibition June 10 to November 27, 2017
The Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown in 1781 was just the beginning for the ranks of soldiers 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 in 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.
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 after risking his life for the liberty of his country.
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, Ind.; 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,” a 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, leaving their own personal connection to the veterans at Yorktown.
‘AfterWARd’ Special Programs
In addition, a variety of special programs and public lectures 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.
September 17: AfterWARd with Alexander Hamilton, 7 p.m. – Rand Scholet, president of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society, offers a retrospective of the founding father on Constitution Day.
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. Separate admission.
November 11: AfterWARd Evening of Poetry and Comedy Performed by Veterans, 8 p.m. – In partnership with the College of William and Mary. Separate admission.
November 15: AfterWARd with General Henry Knox, 7 p.m. – Matthew Hansbury, curator of the Knox Museum, 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.
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 took place 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. 2017 admission is $12.00 for adults, $7.00 for ages 6 through 12, and free for children under 6. Admission for residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg. Parking is free.