Monday, June 19, 2017

The Museum of the Revolutionary War

Daily Vacationer recently had the privilege of visiting the Museum of the American Revolution, (located at the corner of 3rd and Chestnut). This new museum, perfectly placed in Philadelphia's historic district, uses documents, artifacts, interactive exhibits, and theater programs to tell the story of America’s road to revolution.  We had a great time exploring all of it!

The staff recommends kicking off your visit with a viewing of the short movie "Revolution" in the Lenfest Myer Theater on the first floor. We definitely agree! "Revolution" perfectly sets up the experiences waiting on the museum's second floor. Upstairs, a cleverly organized path of rooms lead visitors along the revolution road. The exhibits start with a film depicting angry New Yorkers pulling down a statue of King George III. There's a mighty thud when it hits the ground that actually shakes the floor under your feet! A personal favorite place in the museum was the Boston Liberty Tree display, where visitors have a chance to touch a piece of wood from the last surviving Liberty Tree. Farther on, the Oneida Nation Theater, complete with life sized Native Americans and a large curved screen, teaches guests about the magnitude of the decision that Native American’s faced when choosing whether or not to take sides in the war (and which side to take!).

(Photo: The Museum of  the Revolutionary War)
You may have to wait in line for a little while to enter the Battle of Brandywine Theater, but it’s well worth it! After “forward marching” into this enclosed theater, you’ll get a small taste of what it may have been like to be part of the defeated continental army at Brandywine (note that while none of the violence is graphic, this brief movie does show the realities of war, and along with the loud sounds, flashing lights, and smoke, it may not be appropriate for the museum’s youngest visitors). All visitors, regardless of age, however, will be impressed by the privateer ship that is part of a display on The War of Sea. We especially enjoyed talking to the museum staff member on board, who told us all about what life was like on a sailing ship and even showed us how to tighten up the ropes holding the sails in place. Following a film about independence at Yorktown, we had the chance to think about what groups of people were not truly “free” even after independence. The continuing quest for rights and freedom by women, Native Americans, and African Americans is outlined in the “unfinished victories” display, as well as the film, “The Ongoing Revolution”.

After exiting the displays, we immediately got in line for a viewing of Washington’s War Tent, which museum staff recommended we see after going through the museum. This stirring film talks about the great leadership of George Washington, sharing the story of how he camped in a tent alongside his men, even in very difficult circumstances. The film ends when a screen is raised and you see on the stage George Washington’s Tent. The exhibits and film built up to this moment perfectly, allowing visitors to sense what a privilege it is to see this artifact from American history.

Daily Vacationer Jr says: Keep an eye out for panels that slide, lift up, or even spin around, revealing important objects or information from American history. Kids will also enjoy the large number of interactive displays and touch screens, as well as the life-sized people. Movies may be of special interest depending on a child’s age, but everyone should enjoy boarding the privateer ship. Make sure to bring your young visitor to the Patriot’s Gallery, down on the museum’s first floor, where children can dress up and role-play various parts in the revolution. Note that this room closes before the rest of the museum. You may want to ask for more information at the front desk. Museum staff was more than happy to talk to the youngest visitors and point out items of special interest in any given room.

The Museum of the Revolutionary War is a Timed Ticket Experience.
Make sure to book ahead!




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