Exhibition | Blast from the Past: Artillery in the War of Independence

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 5, 2018

Along with artillery objects, the exhibition includes British paintings of arms manufacturing on loan from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris.

Blast from the Past: Artillery in the War of Independence
American Revolution Museum, Yorktown, 10 June 2018 — 5 January 2019

Curated by Sarah Meschutt

As the last great victory of the American Revolution, the 1781 Siege at Yorktown is known for the use of artillery by General George Washington’s Continental Army. Through interactive elements and artifact displays, Blast from the Past: Artillery in the War of Independence features artillery used on all fronts of the American Revolution by the American, French, and British forces. This special exhibition explores a range of topics from innovations in artillery design and technology to the individual roles of an artillery crew. Topics examine artillery deployment and transport, as well as the range of fire and science behind these powerful weapons.

Blast from the Past highlights the chronology of the weapons and reveal the technology and innovation that delivered the last great victory of the Revolution—a victory that forever made Yorktown, Virginia, the place where the subjects of a king became the citizens of a nation.

American, French and British artillery pieces include:
• British Light 3-pounder bronze field cannon, cast by Jan and Pieter Verbruggen, ca. 1776, on loan from the U.S. Army Center of Military History
• ‘La Perileuse’ French 4-pounder bronze field cannon, cast by Jean Bérenger at Strasbourg, ca 1758, on loan from the National Park Service Springfield Armory National Historic Site
• British 12-pounder bronze ‘Lafayette’ cannon, cast by William Bowen, ca. 1759, on loan from the National Park Service, Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown Collection
• American 6-pounder iron cannon, cast by Samuel and Daniel Hughes, ca. 1775–83, on loan from the Mayor and Council of Boonsboro, Maryland
• ‘La Bellone’ French 4-pounder bronze battalion cannon, cast by D.E. Dupont at Rochefort, ca. 1773, on loan from the National Park Service, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historical Site

Visitors can take in the size and scope of American, French, and British artillery and then explore the museum for a range of hands-on experiences.
• Discover types of artillery—cannons, mortars and howitzers—and types of ammunition, from shot and shell to canister and grape.
• Figure out the right artillery tool for the job—types of shot and essential implements of rammer, sponge and linstock—in a hands-on display.
• How does one move a gun? Lift a door to determine the strength by men and horses to advance a light or heavy gun.
• Examine an artilleryman’s pocket guide; see interactive 18th-century artillery field manuals that served as reference to determine tasks such as how to draw a 6-pounder up a steep cliff or bluff.


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