Yorktown Victory Celebration
October 19 & 20, 2019
The 238th anniversary of America’s momentous 1781 Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be celebrated Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20, at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown with hands-on experiences, artillery firings and military programs.
Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold at the expansive history museum through immersive films, exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. Visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors, take part in interpretive demonstrations, and experience the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater. Visitors also can take in the ongoing “Forgotten Soldier: African Americans in the Revolutionary War” special exhibition.
A parade will take place on October 19, Yorktown Day, at Yorktown Battlefield and in Historic Yorktown, with commemorative programs throughout the weekend.
Continental Army Encampment
Visitors to the Continental Army encampment will discover aspects of military life, from enlistment to troop supplies and flintlock muskets to 18th-century medical care. A “Fortification School,” led by an officer of His Majesty’s Corps of Engineers, will give basics on how to construct, defend and attack a field fortification, known as a redoubt. Join in daily artillery demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and interact with costumed historical interpreters.
Farm visitors can learn about typical life of a Revolution-era farming family, including how families produced homespun clothing during the war and assist in turning plant fibers for cloth. Throughout the day, visitors can lend a hand with 18th-century meal preparation and preservation. At 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day, farm visitors can join in a “Militia Muster” to do their civic duty to train to be part of the Virginia militia.
Films & Exhibits
Indoors, visitors can take in the “Liberty Fever” introductory film, tour immersive exhibition galleries, including a 4D-experiential “Siege of Yorktown” theater that ransports visitors to the Yorktown battlefield in 1781, with wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire. Actors portray allied Generals Washington and Rochambeau and British General Cornwallis as well as Joseph Plumb Martin, a member of the Continental Army’s Corps of Sappers and Miners who helped build fortifications at Yorktown, and Sarah Osborn, who followed the Continental Army with her husband and served food and coffee to the troops, as well as Alexander Hamilton in his first military role in the Continental Army and his famous words – “Rush On Boys!” – as the militia secures Redoubts 9 and 10.
Learn about important leaders, battles and events in 30 minutes or less during “Leaders of the American Revolution,” special presentations offered each hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in education classrooms.
‘Forgotten Soldier’ Special Exhibition
“Forgotten Soldier: African Americans in the Revolutionary War,” a special exhibition on display through March 22, 2020, explores personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans on both sides of the American Revolution and their contributions toward establishing an independent nation.
Rare documents and artifacts, interactives and compelling art, including a new contemporary work by nationally acclaimed artist Titus Kaphar, trace the experiences of African-American soldiers who took part in the American cause for a free and independent nation or took up arms for British forces in hopes of obtaining their own freedom.
Book Signing in Museum Gift Shop
Stop by the museum gift shop from 1 to 3 p.m. for a book signing with Libby Carty McNamee, author of “Susanna’s Midnight Ride” – based on the true story of a 14 year old girl whose courage and determination influenced the course of the Revolutionary War.
Yorktown Victory Celebration at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
“Yorktown Victory Celebration” event activities are included with museum admission: $15.00 for adults, and $7.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 receive complimentary admission. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency.
Special event activities are made possible in part by the York County Arts Commission.
Yorktown Day & Weekend Events in Historic Yorktown and Yorktown Battlefield
Visitors can take the free Yorktown Trolley to attractions throughout Yorktown, including Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily through October 30. Due to numerous street closures for the Yorktown Day Parade and Commemorative Ceremonies on Saturday, October 19, the Trolley will run from the Battlefield Visitor Center to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown from 10 a.m. to roughly 1 p.m., on a modified route. It will resume its regular stops once the parade has ended and traffic has cleared out of town, with service running until 5 p.m.
About the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, tells 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. The museum is located at 200 Water Street, in Yorktown, Virginia. Parking is free.
Special event activities are made possible in part by the York County Arts Commission. “Yorktown Victory Celebration” event activities are included with museum admission: $15.00 for adults, and $7.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 receive complimentary admission. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.