WILLIAMSBURG, Va., May 5, 2016 – Daniel & Company, Inc., a Richmond firm with broad experience in historic renovation and museum projects, will serve as general contractor for construction of outdoor exhibit and visitor amenity areas for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, replacing the Yorktown Victory Center. The $2,859,000 contract was awarded by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, a Virginia state agency that operates Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center history museums.
The work, to be completed in early 2017, includes construction of living-history Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm elements, an informational pavilion, an amenities building, and pathways within a four-acre space.
The outdoor living-history areas, operating in temporary locations while construction is underway, will be located next to an 80,000-square-foot museum building occupied in March 2015. Work continues on building permanent gallery exhibits, which will debut October 15 and 16 along with the change in name from Yorktown Victory Center to American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
The informational pavilion, 39 by 29 feet and open on three sides, will be constructed just outside the museum building to assist visitors with the transition from indoor galleries to the outdoor living-history areas.
The Continental Army encampment, representing two companies of American soldiers, will be triple its pre-2015 size. Major new features are a drill field for visitor-participatory tactical demonstrations and an amphitheater – appearing as a redoubt from the outside – to accommodate artillery presentations. With capacity for up to 250 people, the amphitheater will feature an array of artillery pieces representing the types of guns in use at the 1781 Siege of Yorktown and offer hands-on opportunities to learn how to operate an artillery piece and to observe its firing.
The finished encampment will include tents for enlisted soldiers and officers, an earthen “kitchen” modeled after specifications in Baron von Steuben’s 1779 “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States,” quarters for a surgeon and quartermaster, and makeshift dwellings to represent shelter for female relatives of soldiers who followed the army and earned wages for performing domestic chores.
Just beyond the encampment, the Revolution-era farm will evoke the world of the 18th-century family of Edward Moss, whose life is well-documented in York County, Virginia, records. The new farmhouse, a 34- by 16-foot structure with weatherboard siding and white oak roof shakes and a brick chimney on each end, will have two first-floor rooms, a hall and parlor, each with paned-glass windows, and a second floor for storage and sleeping. Front and back doors will open into the hall. Close by, a separate 20- by 16-foot kitchen will have log walls with sliding shutter windows, a brick chimney, and wood clapboard eaves and roof.
A distinctive new feature of the farm is a 12- by 10-foot building to represent quarters for enslaved people. It will be constructed of log walls and wood clapboard eaves and roof and equipped with a fireplace and stick-and-mud chimney as well as a storage pit common in this type of dwelling. A 20- by 16-foot wood-clapboard tobacco barn and a utility shed will be constructed next to a crop field and existing corncrib.
A 41- by 24-square-foot visitor amenities building located next to the farm will contain two sets of restrooms – one accessible from the farm, the other from a future picnic area and visitor parking – and a beverage vending area.
Construction of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown began in 2012, and the outdoor exhibit areas and amenities are the final phase of the project. A grand opening will take place in early Spring 2017. Building and exhibit construction and renovations to the site are supported by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Private donations, coordinated by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., are supporting elements of gallery and outdoor exhibits and educational resources. A challenge grant from The Cabell Foundation of Richmond will match up to $150,000 in gifts from individuals, corporations and private foundations through December 31, 2016, in support of elements of the Revolution-era farm and Continental Army encampment.
For more information about the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, visit hif.ciniva.net.