Opened in April of 2017 at a cost north of $100 million, the Museum of the American Revolution is a hotly anticipated and welcome addition to the roster of historical attractions situated in and around Independence National Historical Park. Most of the action is on the second floor of the handsome, Robert A.M. Stern-designed Georgian style building.
It is here where the museum’s core exhibits are broken into four chronologically organized galleries, each interpreting a given stage of the revolution, from the earliest stirrings of anti-British sentiment to the forging of the new government after Yorktown. The exhibits hold visitors’ attentions (even those of relatively incurious youngsters) by weaving together impressively life-like dioramas with video presentations, interactive attractions and unique, thoughtfully selected artifacts. The rarest of these is George Washington’s headquarters tent, which is revealed at the climax of the introductory film.
On the whole, the museum’s programming is admirably complete, taking care to detail the role that the Oneida nation and other Native American tribes played in the war, as well as the contradictions inherent in the Declaration of Independence written and consented to by a privileged subset of the country’s population.
Allow two to three hours to fully appreciate all the museum has to offer. Consider visiting the Cross Keys Café, which serves Revolutionary era-appropriate dishes and is a cut above typical museum restaurant fare. While the $19 admission is on the high side, tickets are good for two consecutive days and there are no costly add-ons for special exhibits. Children aged 6-17 are $12 and those under six are admitted free of charge.