Exploring the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia

Exploring the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia uses historic artifacts, dioramas, short films, paintings, and other exhibits to comprehensively tell the story of the Revolutionary War in America.

Front of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Front entrance to the Museum of the American Revolution.

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.

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” exhibit.

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.

View of Independence Hall from the Liberty Bell.
The Museum of the American Revolution is a must-see when visiting nearby Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

What follows are some of the the best things to see and do at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

An exhibit featuring common items a soldier fighting in the American Revolution would have carried.
An exhibit featuring common items a soldier fighting in the American Revolution would have carried.

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 bronze sculpture outside the Museum of the American Revolution depicting the famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware.
A bronze sculpture outside the Museum of the American Revolution depicting the famous painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.”

A pair of bronze sculptures replicate famous paintings depicting scenes from the Revolutionary War.

Bronze sculpture outside the Museum of the American Revolution depicting the famous Declaration of Independence painting
Bronze sculpture outside the Museum of the American Revolution depicting the famous “Declaration of Independence” painting.

An excerpt from the Declaration of Independence is also set in stone near the front entrance to the museum.

Excerpt from the Declaration of Independence on a wall outside the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Excerpt from the Declaration of Independence on a wall outside the Museum of the American Revolution.

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 rotunda of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
The rotunda on the first floor of the museum.

The Patriots Gallery on the first floor is where special, temporary exhibits are put on display.

Patriots Gallery at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Patriots Gallery at the Museum of the American Revolution.

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.

Painting of Molly Pitcher by Don Troiani on display at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Painting of Molly Pitcher by Don Troiani on display at the museum

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.

A brief biography of historian and painter Don Troiani, whose painting were on exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
A brief biography of historian and painter Don Troiani, whose painting were on exhibit at the museum.

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.

A Don Troiani painting on display in the Patriots Gallery at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
A Don Troiani painting on display in the Patriots Gallery at the Museum of the American Revolution.

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.

The gift shop at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
The gift shop.

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.

Paintings and flags in the rotunda of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Paintings and flags in the rotunda on the second floor of 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.

An original copy of the Declaration of Independence at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
An original newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence from July 6, 1776 on display at the Museum of the American Revolution.

The causes for the Revolutionary War are explained through interpretive displays, artifacts, and short films.

No Taxation Without Representation exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
“No Taxation Without Representation” exhibit.

Various battles and campaigns are described.

The Battle of Cowpens exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
“The Battle of Cowpens” exhibit.

The tools of war are on display.

Arms of Independence exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
“Arms of Independence” exhibit at the museum.

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.

Short film about the Battle of Brandywine at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Short film about the Battle of Brandywine at the museum.

The War at Sea is given proper attention as well.

The War at Sea exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
“The War at Sea” exhibit.

There’s even a large-scale replica of an 18th-century warship that visitors can climb aboard.

An exhibit about naval warfare during the Revolutionary War on display at the Museum of the American Revolution.
A large-scale replica of an 18th-century warship

Some of the details about the Revolutionary War you will most certainly have heard of before, like the Valley Forge encampment.

The March to Valley Forge exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
The “March to Valley Forge” exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution.

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.

An exhibit about the Oneida Nation and their alliance with the American colonists during the Revolutionary War.
An exhibit about the Oneida Nation and their alliance with the American colonists during the Revolutionary War.

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.

Portrait of George Washington at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Portrait of George Washington.

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!

Theatre at the Museum of the American Revolution where Washington's War Tent is displayed.
Theatre at the Museum of the American Revolution where Washington’s War Tent is displayed.

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.

George Washington's war tent exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
George Washington’s war tent exhibit.

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.

The exhibit featuring George Washington's war tent at the Museum of the American Revolution features a film and dramatic light show as well.
The exhibit featuring George Washington’s war tent features a film about Washington and a dramatic light show as well.

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.

The Price of Victory exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
The “Price of Victory” exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution.

Admission prices are adults – $24, youth 6-17 – $13, and kids 5 and under get in free.

One of the many dioramas at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
One of the many dioramas at the Museum of the American Revolution.

The museum is located at 101 South Third Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Visiting the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

Nearby Attractions

Independence Hall in Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States!

Visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Independence Hall, just two blocks from the Museum of the American Revolution.

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 Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed inside this room at Independence Hall.
The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed inside this room at Independence Hall.

Visiting the Rocky Statue and Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum is your guide to paying homage to Philly’s favorite fictional son.

Visiting the Rocky Statue and Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
The Rocky statue next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is America’s most-historic (and some say most-haunted) prison!

The halls at Eastern State Penitentiary were designed to have the feel of a church.
The halls at Eastern State Penitentiary are said to be haunted!

The Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars!

Visiting the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
The Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.