WILLIAMSBURG, Va., May 10, 2012 – Along with a physical transformation of the Yorktown Victory Center will come a new name – “American Revolution Museum at Yorktown” – adopted today by the Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the state agency that operates Yorktown Victory Center and Jamestown Settlement history museums, and endorsed by the Board of Directors of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc. Recommended by a board naming study task force, the new name will be implemented upon completion of the museum replacement, and in the meantime the Yorktown Victory Center will continue in operation as a museum of the American Revolution.
Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2012 on the project, which includes an 80,000-square-foot structure that will encompass expanded exhibition galleries, classrooms and support functions, and reorganization of the 22-acre site, located at Route 1020 and the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown. Total cost of building construction and renovations to the site and living-history areas, to be funded primarily through the sale of Virginia Public Building Authority bonds, is estimated at $46 million. Private donations to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., will support elements of gallery and outdoor exhibits and educational resources.
“The new name highlights the core offering of the museum, American Revolution history,” said Frank B. Atkinson, who chaired the naming study task force comprised of 11 members of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., boards, “and the inclusion of the word ‘Yorktown’ provides a geographical anchor. We arrived at this choice through a methodical process that began with compiling an extensive list of potential names, engaging our Museums and Programs Advisory Council and Foundation staff. Key elements to include in the name were identified, and research was undertaken on names currently in use. Selected names were tested with Yorktown Victory Center visitors and reviewed by a trademark attorney and branding consultant.”
“This name ideally reflects what we aim to achieve with the new museum,” said Foundation Chairman H. Benson Dendy III. “The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will provide a renewed perspective on the meaning and impact of the Revolution and will have a nationally important role, along with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Park Service and other Historic Triangle partners, in interpreting events that transformed 13 British colonies into the United States of America.”
The Yorktown Victory Center opened in 1976 as one of three Virginia centers for the national Bicentennial. In 36 years of continuous operation, the museum has hosted 5.3 million visitors and has served more than 900,000 students with curriculum-based structured educational programs. In the early 1990s, the museum’s focus was broadened to encompass events that led to the Revolutionary War and the subsequent formation of a new national government and to interpret the Revolution from diverse points of view and experiences. Critical short-term exhibit renovations were completed in 2006 in time for major commemorations in which the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation had a key role – the 225th anniversary of the decisive American victory at Yorktown and 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English colony.
In 2007 the Foundation board adopted a master plan to address long-term exhibit, building and operation issues. The Virginia General Assembly authorized funding the following year, including $1.6 million from Foundation-generated revenues, for environmental studies and architectural and exhibit design planning.
The new museum building will be positioned on the site with an entrance that will serve as a focal point for arriving visitors. Featuring museum galleries with immersive learning environments, interactive exhibits and period artifacts, the structure also will house classroom and event space, visitor services, gift shop, and support functions and will provide improved access to the museum’s outdoor re-created Continental Army encampment and Revolutionary-period farm. The two outdoor areas will be expanded and relocated.
The Yorktown Victory Center will remain in operation during construction. The existing buildings will be demolished after the new building is complete, and new permanent gallery exhibits will be fabricated and installed after the new building is in use. Upon completion of the entire project, with the new exhibition galleries ready for visitors, “American Revolution Museum at Yorktown” will be the museum’s name.