Opening Wednesday: Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia. Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP
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From the Museum:
The Museum of the American Revolution, which opens in the heart of historic Philadelphia on April 19, 2017, will explore the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments will bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. The Museum is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization.
The Museum of the American Revolution will bring to life the events, people, and ideals of the founding of the United States and inspire a deep appreciation of the importance of the struggle that established a nation. With original artifacts, immersive galleries, dynamic theaters, and recreated historical environments, the experience will take visitors on a chronological journey from the roots of conflict in the 1760s through the creation of the American republic. Along the way, visitors will learn about the rise of the armed resistance to British taxation, the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the long years of warfare that achieved victory, and the Revolution’s continuing relevance.
The Museum rises three stories above the street, encompassing 118,000 total square feet, including permanent and temporary exhibit galleries, theaters, education spaces, collection storage, a café, a retail store, offices, and a welcoming rotunda. Located at the corner of Third and Chestnut Streets, the state-of-the-art building was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Visitors enter the Museum through a domed bronze-cladded entrance on Third Street into the rotunda, which features a dramatic window looking out to the activity on Chestnut Street. The cross-vaulted ceiling features an illuminated laylight representing the six-pointed star from Washington’s Standard flag, which is in the Museum’s collection.
The ground floor interior is organized around a skylit central interior court featuring terrazzo floors and an elliptical staircase, which provides a dramatic pathway to the Museum’s second floor exhibition galleries. Serving as the crossroads of the Museum, the Main Court also provides access to a 190-seat theater where visitors will view the Museum’s orientation film; 5,000 square feet of temporary exhibition and program space; a retail shop; and a café with seating on a terrace that opens to the sidewalk on Third Street.
At the top of the sweeping Grand Staircase, the second floor features 18,000 square feet of galleries and a 100-seat theater dedicated to George Washington’s Headquarters Tent. The third floor includes staff offices and an elegant special event and programs space with views of Carpenters’ Hall, the First Bank of the United States, and Independence Hall through nearly floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air balcony.
The Museum’s lower level includes classrooms for students and other groups, collection storage, and will later include a discovery center, where children can explore their own role in making history.