New Yorktown Museum
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown® Offers Immersive, Experiential and Interactive Fun in Exploring National Story of the Revolution
YORKTOWN, Va. — Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, an expansive history complex featuring an introductory film, immersive gallery exhibits and living-history experiences in re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, replacing the Yorktown Victory Center, presents a renewed perspective on the meaning and impact of the Revolution. The dedication of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown on April 1, 2017, was the high point of a 13-day Grand Opening Celebration, March 23-April 4, saluting each of the first original 13 states in the order that they ratified the Constitution.
Films & Galleries Dazzle, Inform
In the 170-seat museum theater, “Liberty Fever” draws visitors into the world of Revolutionary America, setting the stage for indoor gallery and outdoor living-history experiences. The introductory film, which won a 2017 Gold MUSE Award from the American Alliance of Museums, is 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.
The 22,000-square-foot permanent exhibition galleries engage visitors in the tumult, drama and promise of the Revolution through period artifacts and immersive environments, dioramas, interactive exhibits and short films, including an experiential theater that transports visitors to the Siege of Yorktown with wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire.
Among close to 500 artifacts on exhibit are 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 British colonies that became the United States; and an extremely rare early southern American long rifle.
Visitors Interact With Historical Interpreters in Outdoor Settings
The storyline told in the museum’s permanent exhibition galleries comes to life in vibrant outdoor living-history experiences in a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. Costumed historical interpreters engage visitors in an array of hands-on activities, from military drills to processing plant fiber for cloth.
The Continental Army encampment, triple its previous size, represents a portion of an American regiment and includes tents for soldiers and officers, quarters for a surgeon and quartermaster, and a drill field and artillery amphitheater with tiered seating that from the outside looks like a redoubt. There, visitors can join an artillery crew and then see historical interpreters demonstrate its firing.
The farm features a larger house, kitchen, tobacco barn and quarters for enslaved people, along with crop fields, corncrib, kitchen garden and orchard. A specific 18th-century York County family serves as a frame of reference for historical interpretation.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Continues a Revolutionary Tradition
Located within the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown “Historic Triangle” and next to Yorktown National Battlefield, the Yorktown Victory Center opened in 1976 as one of three Virginia visitor centers for the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. Structural and exhibit improvements were implemented in the 1990s, broadening the museum’s focus to encompass the entire Revolution.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is the realization of a master plan adopted in 2007. The plan called for replacing the 1976 facility, with the new building positioned on the 22-acre site to allow for continued operation throughout construction, and repositioning and reconstructing the encampment and farm.
A new 80,000-square-foot building opened in March 2015, with a theater for showings of Revolution-theme films, an illustrated timeline spanning the second half of the 18th century, and a gift shop and cafe. An important element of the new building is an education center, with five classrooms and a separate entrance, to serve student groups and the general public with dynamic, interactive learning experiences.
Planning, building and exhibit construction, and renovations to the site, including living-history areas, are funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Major components of the project total approximately $51 million. Private donations to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Campaign for Support are funding elements of gallery and outdoor exhibits, artifact acquisitions, and educational resources.
Located at 200 Water Street in Yorktown, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15-August 15). 2020 admission is $15.25 for adults, $7.75 for ages 6-12. A combination ticket is available with Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia. Call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or visit www.historyisfun.org.
High-resolution images provided for media use. Credit: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Tracy Perkins, (757) 253-4114
Meghan van Joosten, (757) 253-4175