Museum of the American Revolution

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Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution logo
Established 2000
(Planned Opening: 2017)
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type History museum
Collection size 3,000[1]
President Michael C. Quinn

The Museum of the American Revolution (formerly The American Revolution Center) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is building a museum to tell the complete story of the American Revolution. The museum anticipates opening in spring 2017.


The museum owns a distinguished collection of several thousand objects including artwork and sculpture, textiles and weapons, manuscripts and rare books. Permanent and special exhibition gallieries, theaters and large-scale tableaux will bring to life the original "greatest generation," and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution.

The museum expects to serve 500,000 tourists, regional visitors and students annually. It will serve as a portal to Philadelphia's other Revolutionary landmarks, enriching the existing heritage community and making Philadelphia an engaging and authentic destination for those interested in discovering America's founding.

The President and CEO is Michael C. Quinn and Philadelphia area media entrepreneur and philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.[2]


The museum will be located in the historic heart of Philadelphia, the city that served as the headquarters of American's founding. The site is across the street from the First Bank of the United States and two blocks from Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, Second Bank of the United States, American Philosophical Society, Carpenters' Hall, and the Liberty Bell.

Design and construction[edit]

On June 12, 2012, architect Robert A. M. Stern unveiled designs for the permanent location.[3] Groundbreaking for the museum occurred in fall 2014 and construction is underway.

The museum will rise three stories above the street and, with a full basement, will encompass 118,000 total square feet. The design plans for the building include a museum shop and café which opens to the sidewalk. The first floor interior is organized around a skylit central interior court and features a cross-vaulted ticketing lobby, a multi-use theater and a changing exhibition gallery. The second floor features 18,000 square feet of galleries and a theater dedicated to the exhibition of George Washington's marquee tent. The museum's third floor is designed to offer rooms for events and two terraces overlooking the First Bank of the United States, Independence National Historical Park, and the Philadelphia skyline beyond. The museum intends to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.[4]

The museum plans to open in 2017.[5]

Museum Experience[edit]

The experience will take visitors on a chronological journey from the roots of conflict in the 1760s to the rise of armed resistance, and from the bold Declaration of Independence of 1776 through the long years of warfare that achieved victory. Whether stepping into an Oneida Indian council house, or examing the 1773 volume "Poems on Various Subjects" by Phyllis Wheatley, America's first published black female poet, museum visitors will see the diversity of people and opinion of the American founding.

Immersive experiences include a gallery featuring a full-scale replica of Boston's Libery Tree, the recreation of an Oneida Indian Council House, the Battlefield Theater, a recreation of Independence Hall, and a large model of an 18th-century privateer ship. A dedicated theater will house one of the most iconic surviving artifacts of the Revolution: General Washington's Headquarters Tent, which served as both his office and sleeping quarters throughout much of the war.

The Museum's Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, is working with a team of specialists to develop more than 32,000 square feet of exhibits and theaters, plus integrated educational space. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Virginia. Dr. Stephenson is a specialist in colonial and revolutionary American history and material culture with a strong background in visual storytelling. Also supporting the exhibition process is Dr. Philip C. Mead. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from Harvard University.

Other historians who have been consulted on the project include: Richard Beeman (University of Pennsylvania), Vincent Brown (Harvard University), Thomas Chavez (National Hispanic Cultural Center), Thomas Fleming (writer and novelist), James Hattendorf (US Naval War College), Don Higginbotham (University of North Carolina), Pauline Maier (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Holly Mayer (Duquesne University), Thomas McGuire (Malvern Prepatory School), David McCullough (Yale University), Gary Nash (University of California, LA), Ray Raphael (University of California, Berkeley), Matthew Spooner (Columbia University), Laruel Ulrich (Harvard University), and Gordon Wood (Brown University).


The Museum of the American Revolution has a rich collection of several thousand objects. The museum's collection includes items owned and used by General George Washington during the War of Independence, an extensive collection of historic firearms and edged weapons, important art, important manuscripts, and rare books.

Much of the collection is in storage awaiting display in the Museum of the American Revolution. Some items have been displayed at George Washington's Mount Vernon, Valley Forge National Historical Park, the National Constitution Center, the Winterthur Museum, the Senator John Heinz History Center and the North Carolina Museum of History. [6]

Highlights include:

Selections from the Collection[edit]


Resolved, That the Senate –– (1) recognizes the contribution of the Center to the preservation of the story of the founding of the United States; and (2) expresses its support for the Center’s efforts to establish an appropriate museum to tell such story to future generations.

— S.RES.222, 112th Congress


  1. ^ "Washington’s Wartime ‘Oval Office’ Getting Remade For Philadelphia Museum". CBS Local (Philadelphia). 31 March 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". Museum of the American Revolution. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (11 June 2012). "Design Shown for Museum of American Revolution". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Museum of the American Revolution". Robert A.M. Stern Architects - Official Website. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Coming Attraction: The Brand-New Museum Of The American Revolution To Open In Historic Philadelphia In Early 2017". Retrieved 2015-09-09. 
  6. ^ Mason, ZeeAnn (19 May 2011). "Rare Objects from American Revolution Center Collection On Display Through Loans to Historic Mount Vernon and the National Constitution Center" (PDF) (Press release). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: American Revolution Center. Retrieved 2013-04-07. 
  7. ^ Nye, James (31 July 2012). "Washington's tent among stunning artifacts in first ever museum dedicated to American Revolution". Daily Mail. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Washington's Camp Cups". Museum of the American Revolution. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "The March to Valley Forge". Museum of the American Revolution. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Restored Painting Now on Display at Valley Forge Visitor Center". Phoenixville Patch. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "A Founding Father's Roman History". Museum of the American Revolution. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "First Newspaper Printing of the Declaration". Museum of the American Revolution. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Plan of the Battle of Brandywine". Museum of the American Revolution. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Hessian Headgear". Museum of the American Revolution. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Senate Passes Casey Resolution Recognizing Philly’s American Revolution Center". Robert P. Casey, Jr. - Official U.S. Senate Website. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Miller, Aaron. "2012 AAM MUSE Awards". Bluecadet. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 

External links[edit]