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Yorktown Victory Celebration & Preview of New Museum

October 15 & 16, 2016
Weekend Previews American Revolution Museum at Yorktown with Debut of New Exhibition Galleries and Films

Main entranceThe 235th anniversary of America’s momentous 1781 Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be celebrated October 15 and 16 with hands-on military experiences, artillery firings, military music, and a preview of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown with the debut of the new exhibition galleries and films.

The introductory film “Liberty Fever” and 22,000-square-foot exhibition galleries – and the “American Revolution Museum at Yorktown” name – will debut during the weekend. The Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm will be completed in early 2017, and a grand opening celebration from March 23 to April 4 will officially launch the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Liberty Fever stageExhibition Galleries & Films to Debut

“Liberty Fever,” shown in the museum theater, will draw visitors into the world of Revolutionary America, setting the stage for indoor gallery and outdoor living-history experiences. The introductory film will be 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.

Siege-of-Yorktown-Theater

An experiential theater in the galleries will transport visitors to the Battle of the Capes and Siege of Yorktown in 1781.

Exhibition galleries will engage visitors in the tumult, drama and promise of the Revolution through period artifacts and immersive environments, dioramas, interactive exhibits and short films. Among the short films is “The Siege of Yorktown,” shown an experiential theater on a 180-degree surround screen with rumbling seats, wind, smoke and the smells of gunpowder, seawater and coffee. The action focuses on the Battle of Capes, that resulted in a French blockade of the Chesapeake Bay, preventing access by sea to Yorktown, attacks on British redoubts in Yorktown, and the British surrender on October 19, 1781.

Yorktown museum gallery exhibit settings

Among the close to 500 artifacts on exhibit in the permanent galleries will be 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 original colonies; and an extremely rare early southern American long rifle.

‘Yorktown Victory Celebration’ Revolutionary War Programs & Military Music

Artillery firing at the Yorktown Victory CenterAn assortment of military music, musket and artillery demonstrations and hands-on interpretive programs at re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm will take place during the two-day event.

Visitors to the Continental Army encampment can learn the steps leading up to the firing of an artillery piece, followed by its firing, during daily programs. Visitors also can learn about espionage, military discipline and soldiers’ provisions and sleeping quarters.

Farm visitors can learn about typical life of a Revolutionary-era farming family, including how families produced homespun clothing during the war and try out aspects of turning plant fibers into cloth. They also can learn how herbs were used for cooking and medicinal purposes, and assist in creating 18th-century dishes.

The event is included with museum admission: $9.75 for adults, and $5.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 receive complimentary admission.


Commemorative events also take place on October 15 and 16 at the Yorktown Battlefield and on October 19 – Yorktown Day – at Yorktown Battlefield and in historic Yorktown.