Enter as a Subject to the Crown and leave as a Citizen!
What does liberty mean? The Museum of the American Revolution allows you to walk through a timeline of American history and understand the goals of a new nation. The second paragraph of the Constitution states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Discover how these goals were challenged by the exceptions: men who did not own property, women, blacks, Native Americans and how freedom of equality continues to be addressed through to today.
Using a timed entrance ticket, walk through exhibits and learn how the American colonists created a new form of government. The Road to Independence exhibition is divided into different galleries. This Robert Stern Building flows from the first-floor galleries that includes a children’s interactive room called the Patriots Gallery, the Cross Keys Café with pre-prepared boxed items and the museum’s gift shop. The Lenfest Myer Theater offers a good 15-minute movie describing the overview of the Revolution. After you view the movie, proceed upstairs by staircase or elevator.
The second floor contains contiguous galleries showcasing the path to independence including.
- Washington’s War Tent
Start your visit on the second floor viewing this wonderful theatrical production describing General Washington’s leadership. See the original field tent used as his private space and command center during the Revolution.
- Becoming Revolutionaries
The Prologue: Tearing Down the King is a video reenacting the people of New York pulling the statue of King George down from its pedestal in Bowling Green, NYC and turning the lead into bullets used against the British.
Continue through the galleries, Rule Britannia! 1760-1775, The Price of Victory. Continue through the gallery American Liberties 1765-1775 with its life size replica of Boston’s Liberty Tree. There are several touch screens with interactive descriptions. Keep moving through the galleries, The War Begins 1776, followed by Join or Die: An American Army Takes Shape Boston, 1775.
Stop at the Independence Theater to see a short video. View the unfolding debate and decision making as delegates to the Continental Congress debate the break from England. Read the words of Thomas Jefferson and the list of grievances levied against the King from authentic printings of the Declaration of Independence. See the Chain of States, and a replica of King George’s Statue in Bowling Green, NY.
- The Darkest Hour
The realities of the war are showcased in the next galleries including New York, 1776 and Trenton and Princeton. In the Oneida Nation Theater, you’ll learn what the British and the Americans promised to the Native Americans for their support.
The War in 7 Minutes is a video showcasing the overview of the war, the Saratoga Campaign 1777, and the Battle of Brandywine Theater depicts the British and American conflict in a way that you feel as if you are there. Winter Patriots 1777-1778 and Valley Forge show the fortitude of the people who fought for an ideal against incredible hardship. Arms of Independence is an exhibit of the rifles and swords used during the fighting.
Learn about how women participated in the war efforts from a Quaker Schoolmistress and a Hessian soldier’s wife.
- A Revolutionary War
The War at Sea describes how the Americans used private sailing vessels to counter the massive British Navy and how these volunteers were compensated for their efforts. Step on board a reproduction of a Privateer Ship. Learn about the Dragoons, The War in the South 1778 – 1780 and the story of Virginia in 1781. Another video opportunity is from Yorktown to Independence demonstrating the battles.
- A New Nation
The final galleries describe the aftermath of the war in Unfinished Victories, how the government of the people by the people started by writing The Constitution. Revolution Generation in Photographs brings the war to a personal level. Educating Citizens and The Ongoing Revolution describes how government continues to change.
The museum opened on April 19, 2017. I spent 5 hours in the museum, so there is more to see than you imagine. Go early in the day, enjoy lunch in the neighborhood, and then visit Independence Historical Park!
The small first floor coat room is unmanned, so think about what to bring with you that you don’t want to carry through the museum or leave in an unsupervised space.
There is still work to do to make the exhibits more user friendly.
The photographs establish a time and place. However, the font is white, and is more difficult to read than if they used a dark font on a lighter background. The lighting is very dim and cast shadows on the copy. The result is that it takes longer to read, which means the lines move slowly. The people at the museum are aware of this and working with the lighting designers to fix the problem.
Discussion is taking place to offer audio guides so visitors can hear the commentary about the exhibits. Hopefully, the audio guides will offer multiple language options. Using numbers to tie into the specific information, would allow each visitor to stand wherever they wish, press the number of the exhibit and hear the description. This would avoid the lines of visitors waiting to read the descriptions.
Entrance is strictly adhered to by the timed ticket to avoid overcrowding the galleries.
Everyone needs a timed ticket for entry to the Museum, even members and those 18 and under. Tickets are available in 20-minute intervals and are good for two consecutive days
Contact a Discover New York Destination Specialist to create a Revolutionary experience for you in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, Norfolk, Jamestown, Charleston and Savannah and allow our experts to bring the birth of our Country to life.