Now Open: American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
From the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation:
2017 is a pivotal year at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, two premier living-history museums in two corners of America’s Historic Triangle that offer year-round experiences, compelling special exhibitions, events, and programs that immerse visitors into the story of America’s beginnings.
The Grand Opening Celebration of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown March 23–April 4 culminates the museum’s 10-year transformation from the Yorktown Victory Center. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown presents a renewed national perspective on the meaning and impact of the Revolution through introductory film, timeline, expansive gallery exhibits with nearly 500 artifacts, interactive displays and experiential theaters, and new settings for hands-on interpretive experiences in expanded re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. The celebration launches the new museum with daily highlights of one of America’s 13 original states in the order that they ratified the Constitution, with a dedication ceremony on April 1. Patriotic festivities include gallery tours, living-history programs, artillery firings, flag-raising ceremonies, military musical performances, military re-enactments, lectures, and children’s activities.
Located 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.
The museum’s inaugural special exhibition—AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America—debuts June 10 and follows the post-war stories of veterans of the Siege of Yorktown and how they went on after the war to shape the America we know today. A series of plays, performances and public lectures June through November feature Revolutionary War veterans James Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette and Henry Knox as well as issues facing modern-day veterans.
At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia history and culture, visitors this spring can experience new interactive gallery exhibits exploring the Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultures that converged in the 1600s. As part of a phased gallery enhancement, touch-screen panels allow visitors to compare and contrast each culture’s language, religion, government, economy and family structure. Jamestown Settlement’s expansive gallery exhibits debuted in 2006 in time for America’s 400th Anniversary commemoration in 2007, and are now being refreshed a decade later with new technology.
Four hundred years after the 1617 death of Pocahontas in England, her image and legend live on. Using depictions of Pocahontas from across the centuries, Jamestown Settlement presents Pocahontas Imagined, a special exhibition opening July 15 that illuminates the reasons behind her enduring legacy as well as her impression on popular culture and art. The six-month exhibition features Pocahontas memorabilia, advertisements, and interactive experiences.
Outdoors, visitors can examine artistic patterns, lines, and colors in objects found in Jamestown Settlement’s re-created Powhatan Indian village, ships and fort. Public lectures in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts take place September 5, September 13, and October 3.
Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 at the Colonial Parkway next to Historic Jamestowne, administered by the National Park Service and Jamestown Rediscovery (on behalf of Preservation Virginia). The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown near Yorktown Battlefield, administered by the National Park Service.