Take a modern look at history.
By Renée S. Gordon
March 23 to April 4, 2017, the Grand Opening of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown (ARMY) will take place. The museum complex, located within America’s Historic Triangle, brilliantly weaves together all aspects of the American Revolution into a holistic story. It takes visitors on a journey toward understanding of the impact of the American Revolution internationally and on our current political situation.
The grand opening celebrates the original 13 colonies, with a day dedicated to each one, devoted to the unique history, performances, official activities and presentation of state flag of each. The states are scheduled in the order in which the state’s ratified the Constitution, beginning with Delaware, followed by Pennsylvania on the 24th.
The state-of-the-art museum interprets the Revolution’s story from the nation’s founding through the ratification of the Constitution and its influences. The 22,000-sq.-ft exhibition space tells the story from numerous perspectives, including Native Americans, women and the enslaved, using text, videos, nine interactive computer kiosks, more than 495 artifacts and dioramas.
Self-guided tours begin with “Liberty Fever,” a 4-D theatrical experience complete with special effects. Re-enactments in the film depict the points of view of five individuals including a Catawba Indian and a free black hero of the Battle of Great Bridge. Five additional films are shown in locations appropriate to their subject matter, such as a tavern and military tent.
Thematic gallery tours immerse you into five primary themes, The British Empire and America, The Changing Friendship: Britain and North America, Revolution, The New Nation and The American People. Highlights include a portrait of King George III, Lafayette’s pistols and the earliest portrait of an African in North America, Olaudah Equiano. It should be noted that at the time of the American Revolution out of a total population of 2 million, 25 percent of the people here were of African descent, 50 percent were British and 25 percent were from other areas of Europe.
A living history Continental Army encampment and colonial farm, modeled after the documented Moss farm, are located outside adjacent to the museum. The encampment interprets the experiences of two companies and includes artillery displays, an earthen kitchen, women’s area, colonel’s quarters and surgeon’s tent. The farm, circa 1757-86, was home to a slave-owning landowner with a 14-ft. by 16-ft. house, exterior kitchen and herb garden. Re-enactments, demonstrations and interpretations of both sites on various topics are scheduled throughout the day. All displays are reproductions allowing visitors to personally interact with history.
Following the Williamsburg Tasting Trail is a delicious way to tour the Historic Triangle. The Williamsburg Trail consists of eight locations that feature a variety of spirits, dining, tours and tastings. The trail intersects with the Colonial Virginia Wine Trail that showcases three additional venues. All trail sites are within a one-hour drive of Yorktown.
– Photos by Renée S. Gordon
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