Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

If you have ever visited Yorktown, VA (usually on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown) you have probably been to the Yorktown Victory Center.  It includes exhibits, a recreated Continental Army encampment, and 1780s-style farm.

Work has begun to replace the Yorktown Victory Center with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.  Here is a taste of what is happening:

Work has begun on replacing the Yorktown Victory Center on the existing 22-acre site, guided by a master plan adopted in 2007 by the Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Virginia state agency that operates the museum.

“The 1976 building was designed primarily to serve as a visitor center and has been adapted to serve our evolving needs,” said Foundation Executive Director Philip G. Emerson.  “The master plan addresses long-term exhibit, building and operation issues while presenting an extraordinary opportunity to provide visitors an even more compelling museum experience.

“Our intention,” Emerson said, “is to capture the essence of the American Revolution, the ‘radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people’ described by John Adams in 1818 as ‘the real American Revolution,’ and its importance for the world.”

The plan for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown replaces existing ticketing, gallery and maintenance buildings with one approximately 80,000-square-foot structure positioned on the site to allow for continued operation during construction.

Westlake Reed Leskosky of Cleveland, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., with Hopke & Associates of Williamsburg as associate architect, developed the architectural design for the site and new building.  A link to Yorktown area architecture and a distinct focal point for arriving visitors are key elements of the new museum building, which will include more than 22,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, a 5,000-square-foot special exhibition gallery, a theater and an education center.  With five classrooms and a separate entrance, the center will provide the opportunity for new educational experiences for students of all ages, supporting segments of curriculum-based structured educational programming and serving as a venue for lectures and special educational programs for the general public.

A new film in the museum theater will introduce visitors to the world of Revolutionary America and prepare them for the new galleries and outdoor living-history areas.  

Read more about this new museum here.  They hope to have it open by 2016.