The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia uses historic artifacts, dioramas, short films, paintings, and other exhibits to tell the story of the Revolutionary War in America.
The museum opened to the public on April 19, 2017, the 242nd anniversary of the first battles of the Revolutionary War (at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts) on April 19, 1775.
Located just a few blocks from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, I had a chance to visit this world-class museum in the summer of 2022.
What follows are some of the the best things to see and do at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
Outside the Museum of the American Revolution
Before you even step foot inside the museum, there are several impressive exhibits on the building’s exterior.
A pair of bronze sculptures replicate famous paintings depicting scenes from the Revolutionary War.
An excerpt from the Declaration of Independence is also set in stone near the front entrance to the museum.
Inside the Museum of the American Revolution
The entrance to the Museum of the American Revolution opens into a large rotunda, with a ticketing area, theater, gallery, shops, and restrooms located on this level.
The Patriots Gallery on the first floor is where special, temporary exhibits are put on display.
I considered myself incredibly fortunate in that when I visited the Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings of the Revolutionary War exhibit was being displayed here.
For those that don’t know, Don Troiani is both a historian and nationally renowned historical artist, and his paintings are frequently used by organizations like the National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institution to help tell the stories of past people and events.
While that exhibit ended in early September of 2022, that is the caliber of special exhibits put on by the Museum of the American Revolution in the Patriots Gallery.
Also on the first floor you’ll find a café (which I did not try), the aforementioned gift shop (pictured below), and the Lenfest Myer Theater, where a 15 minute-long orientation film entitled Revolution is shown throughout the day.
Second Floor of the Museum of the American Revolution
The second floor of the museum is where the bulk of the permanent exhibits are on display; not coincidentally this is where I spent the bulk of my time when exploring the Museum of the American Revolution.
As you make your way around the second floor in counter-clockwise fashion, the story of the American Revolution plays out in chronological order.
The causes for the Revolutionary War are explained through interpretive displays, artifacts, and short films.
Various battles and campaigns are described.
The tools of war are on display.
An immersive film (complete with a light/sound show) gives you and idea for what it was like to face down an oncoming British assault.
The War at Sea is given proper attention as well.
There’s even a large-scale replica of an 18th-century warship that visitors can climb aboard.
Some of the details about the Revolutionary War you will most certainly have heard of before, like the Valley Forge encampment.
Other details like the alliance between the Oneida Nation and the American colonists during the Revolutionary War may be new to you; I know I was unfamiliar with this part of the war’s history.
The counter-clockwise tour ends with the American victory over the British, and the immense task of creating a nation founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the aftermath.
George Washington’s War Tent
One of the signature pieces in the Museum of the American Revolution’s collection is George Washington’s war tent, which has miraculously survived for nearly 250 years!
Sometimes referred to as “The First Oval Office”, the tent was crafted in Reading, Pennsylvania while the Continental Army wintered in Valley Forge, and was used by Washington throughout the remainder of the Revolutionary War.
The tent is housed in a specially-lit theater (to preserve the aged canvas), and it is unveiled to visitors at the conclusion of a short film about the life of George Washington and the tent itself.
Visiting the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution is open 10 am – 5 pm daily (closed on major holidays) – check the museum’s OFFICIAL WEBSITE for any special closures or restrictions (COVID-related or otherwise) BEFORE visiting.
Admission prices are adults – $24, youth 6-17 – $13, and kids 5 and under get in free.
The museum is located at 101 South Third Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
Independence Hall in Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States!
The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both signed here, and today you can take a guided tour of what is arguably the most important and historic site in the United States.
The Betsy Ross House is one of Philadelphia’s most popular tourist attractions, said to be the site where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag in late May, 1776.
Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia is the oldest continually-inhabited residential street in the United States!
The Curtis Publishing Building was the home of The Saturday Evening Post and is where “The Dream Garden”, a massive Tiffany glass mosaic, is located.
Valley Forge National Historical Park near Philadelphia is a tribute to General George Washington and the Continental Army, which spent the winter of 1777-78 here, overcoming adversity of many kinds and emerging as a stronger, more capable fighting force that ultimately defeated the British forces in the Revolutionary War.
Visiting the Rocky Statue and Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum is your guide to paying homage to Philly’s favorite fictional son.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is America’s most-historic (and some say most-haunted) prison!
The Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars!
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