By Avery Maslowsky, Sports Editor
The corner of Chestnut Street and South 3rd Street in Philadelphia transformed into a battle ground the morning of July 4th, filled with Revolutionary figures and Revolutionary enthusiasts of all ages to celebrate the Museum of the American Revolution’s first Independence Day and America’s 241st.
The historic celebration started at 11am in the museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery with the theme of Revolutionary Philadelphia. Visitors could try on Revolutionary-inspired clothing, design a flag and make a sash like the one George Washington wore on his way home after the siege of Yorktown. At noon iconic Revolutionaries emerged into the museum’s outdoor plaza, sharing their war secrets and journeys in the 18th century. Throughout the day, visitors had access and free will to explore the museum’s top floor of the main exhibits and had the chance to as well sign their name to a giant replica of the Declaration of Independence and cast their vote of whether or not they would have joined the mob to pull down the statue of King George in 1776.
But this Independence Day was not the first time the corner in Old City, Philadelphia was filled with guests all celebrating the nation’s past; for the past four months the Museum of the American Revolution has had lines to get into the exhibits.
Being the first museum to open in Philadelphia since 2012, the museum of the American Revolution is applauded by visitors for its unique, wide selection of techniques to educate the public on the full story of the Revolution, including digital displays, immersive experiences, interactive exhibits and its vast collection of artifacts.
The Museum of the American Revolution contains over 3,000 artifacts collected from across the world, varying from bowls to toys to articles of clothing. Of those artifacts is the last remaining block of wood from the Liberty Tree of Annapolis, Maryland which stood until 1999 and Washington’s Fort Tent.
The Museum officially opened its doors to the public on April 19, 2017 on the anniversary of the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”, the official start of the American Revolution, but plans for its construction started nearly twenty years prior to the opening ceremony.
Starting in 1999, Congress officially authorized the construction of an American Revolution museum to be built by the National Park Service and the Valley Forge Historical Society. The museum revealed its plans for a $100 million project covering 20 acres of land in the Valley Forge National Park. Its purpose was stated to give the public a full understanding of the war and its effects.
But opposition began to rise as the project developed. As environmental concerns ignited from the Park Service, a divide between the partnerships formed and lead to the planning commission’s vote against the ordinance for the project in 2007. Shortly after in December 2008, an official lawsuit was filed by the National Parks Conservation Association to halt the construction of the museum in the Valley Forge National Park.
It was not until 2009 that an agreement was reached with the National Park Service in which the location of the museum would no longer be in the historic park but rather on Chestnut Street a few blocks from Independence Mall.
Construction for the $120 million dollar complex began in October 2014. It took over two years for the museum to be built and filled to its present state with a mix of 18th century history and 21st century ability present in the architecture of not just the exterior but the exhibits as well.
The Museum of the American Revolution continues to celebrate one of the most important events in American history every day from 9:30-6 through its detailed exhibits and interactive activities. Tickets cost $12 for children under 17, $19 for adults and $17 for teachers.
Avery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.