Philadelphia has a new and significant museum: The Museum of the American Revolution.
The Revolutionary War museum adds to Philadelphia’s rich tapestry of art, culture, colonial, and American history. The entrance to the museum is guarded by five stately Revolutionary War era cannons. The guest services area is spacious and easy for groups to gather and organize before beginning their tour. The ground floor provides a cafeteria, gift shop, and introductory movie. I recommend watching the short introductory movie before starting the tour of the museum itself.
After the introduction movie, you can begin your tour by climbing the elegant oval staircase. For limited mobility guests there are large elevators and wheelchairs available.
The museum is dense and engaging, including personal stories and artifacts of individuals who lived during the times. The retelling of the Revolution is done well and contains various perspectives; giving a diverse panorama of this tumultuous history.
Travel back in time
The museum is designed to take you back in time, to the colonial past. The rooms are designed to recreate history and give you a sense of presence of the 18th century. This point in time was not easy for anyone, and no one was certain of the future.
I particularly loved the man who is clutching the doomed King George statue and leaning down to offer you a rope. This rope will be used to pull the statue down, which will be destroyed and melted down. He is asking us if we will participate in the revolt and the destruction. You cannot resist looking up and responding to his invitation. Would you do it? Would you deface a statue that honors the leaders of your country? Would you revolt? What would you do if this was something happening today?
Small but Flowing
The rooms are small and intimate, but easy flowing. We arrived early in the morning so we didn’t have a crush of guests. This left us free to enjoy the museum at a more relaxed pace. I found navigation and the layout to be very wheelchair friendly.
There are several high quality tableau created for your study. And close inspection will show quality construction and an attention to detail. I was fixated by the smallest details you cannot absorb through paintings or text; like the fold of cuffs or the drape of cloth. Be sure to slow down and enjoy these displays. Such as the story behind Israel Trask’s story and tableau.
(Little) Hands on
There are several areas in which little hands can get involved: opening panels, touching replicas, sliding displays, turning wheels, and even practicing needlepoint (without the needle). There is enough to keep the younger members engaged while the adults read the details of various exhibits.
The big ‘must see’ item is Washington’s tent. It is a beautifully restored piece of history, and the display is impressive. There is a ‘show’ that prepares the information and history of the tent. Then the stage curtains are lifted and the actual tent is there for you to see and appreciate. There is a brief moment in which shadows and lights are used to recreate General Washington operating inside the tent.
Sadly, you cannot photograph or video this interactive display or the tent itself. I recommend that if you are going to this museum, plan to sit back, relax and sink into this exhibit without worrying about videoing the details or photographing the tent (which is behind glass).
After the informational display, you are invited to leave the auditorium and return to the tour of the museum. There was a small station placed near the exit that had hands-on items and information related to the tent and the tent’s restoration. It is worth the few minutes to stop and hear what is being shared at this small station. The number of hours a single woman has invested to restore and stabilize the tent is daunting! Plus there are mysterious symbols found on the tent cloth; and all sleuths are invited to study the image and see if they can solve the mystery of their meaning.
Hi, I’m Patti. I work in the IT field and my favorite thing to do is reboot stuff. (Muahahaha!)
I love exploring the United States and luckily I enjoy driving. Which is a good thing since it would be hard to explore if I had to walk everywhere. I am usually exploring the states on a tight budget with limited vacation time. I try to make the most of my free time, and I may have a trick or two up my sleeve.
I’m a weird mix of over-planner and free-spirit wanderer. There’s no in between. I see weekends as play-time. Laundry is for Wednesday nights and dusting is never on my to-do list.
I love museums, learning new things, and just letting my curiosity take me to my next discovery.
To discover more about me, check out my About Me page.