Inside the New Museum of the American Revolution
The Old City museum adds another dimension to Philly's already awesome historical offerings.
The Museum of the American Revolution — Philly’s newest attraction — is now open, the first museum in our country to honor the revolutionary soldiers who fought for the freedom we all enjoy today. This is no ordinary museum: the interactive displays, video presentations, hands-on experiences and more make it a place of wonder and learning for all ages.
The museum opened Wednesday, the 242nd anniversary of the famous “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” and the battles of Lexington and Concord that began the Revolutionary War. The museum is celebrating its opening with a four-day festival of family fun, including costumed interpreters, music, and other activities.
A major highlight of the museum is George Washington’s tent. This tent had been under the care of the descendants of Martha Washington for over 120 years, before they sold it to a reverend in Pennsylvania who dreamed of creating a museum to tell the story of the revolution. He collected artifacts once he obtained the war tent, all of which are displayed in the museum.
While the museum itself inspires awe and amazement with each artifact displayed, curators didn’t intend for this to be a place where only adults could learn about our important history. There are many displays where a sign indicates — even encourages — the viewer to touch and experience what they are seeing.
Children are engaged from the first steps in to the exhibition area, with a short video re-creation of an angry mob pulling down the statue of King George III in New York City. Pieces of this statue can then be seen later on. There’s also an exhibit which allows children to lift open a counter top to view the linens inside, to touch a recreation cannon, lift a cannon ball, smell a box of tea at a display about the Boston Tea Party, sit in a re-creation of Washington’s infamous “Rising Sun” chair, and so much more.
Perhaps the two most interactive parts for kids are the area on the main floor — the Patriot’s Gallery, where children can try on period clothing — and the replica of a privateer ship. Visitors can board a large scale replica to immerse themselves in the experience of what it was like to be a part of the Navy of the Continental Congress.
A large exhibit dedicated to the Oneida Indian Nation acknowledges the importance of the alliance with these men and women, and their role in supporting colonists on the road to independence. Both this nation and this museum owe a debt of gratitude to the Oneida Nation for their contributions to every American War since the founding of our country, and their donation to the construction of the museum.
A main goal of the Museum of the American Revolution is to expand the visitors’ understanding of this “founding generation” by telling the diverse stories of all the people who were involved in the creation of our nation. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, if you’re touring Philadelphia’s historic sites with kids, the museum adds a new dimension to the tale of our nation’s birth.
The Museum of the American Revolution is at 101 S. Third St. (the corner of Third and Chestnut) in Philadelphia. It’s open daily from 10 am — 5 pm, with extended hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 9:30 am — 6 pm.
Tickets are $19 for adults; $17 for college students and active and retired members of the military; and $12 children ages 6 and up. Tickets are valid for three consecutive days, and AARP and AAA discounts available. The museum also offers group rates and memberships. Click here to buy tickets.
Lead photograph by Bluecadet, courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution.