Visiting the Museum of the American Revolution
”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
This statement (and a lot more of course) is what our country was founded on. I’ve always loved history, especially American History. The Civil War has always been the most fascinating era to me, but as I have gotten older, I have also enjoyed learning about the Revolutionary War and the founding of our country. I actually was able to take classes in college specifically on those two wars, which was just “Geek Heaven” in my opinion.
Growing up 20 minutes from Philadelphia gave me lots of opportunity to visit relevant historical sites, something I’ve missed over the last few years, especially when the Museum of the Revolutionary War opened. So I made sure that this most recent visit to Philadelphia included a visit to the museum.
Walking up to the building, it’s a nice, but rather plain building. It fits in well around the other buildings in Old City. There is a group of cannons outside, which are always a fun photo opp.
After buying your tickets, your first stop is a 15 minute movie called “Revolution” that goes over the basics of the war. Overall, I thought the movie was ok, I wasn’t overly moved by it like I have been by other museum movies. I also noticed that graphics seemed quite repetitive throughout the movie.
The other exhibit on the first floor was their specialty exhibit that changes throughout the year. Currently, the exhibit is “Hamilton Was Here”, which brings the knowledge and words from the popular musical into historical light. I enjoyed this exhibit as it was very interactive, with dress up clothing and even a “Flat Hamilton” that you could take around the city and take pictures with! My inner child was very close to leaving with one, but I knew that I didn’t need it and left it for the children.
The main exhibit is upstairs and includes priceless historical treasures! I liked how much was included at the beginning of the exhibit on the history before the war; it was a good balance of information that gave you the idea of what happened but did not spend a ton of time on it since it wasn’t the war. There were several videos throughout the exhibit that were similar to the one downstairs with repetitive graphics that just did not thrill me. I enjoyed the different hands on exhibits they had with questions and facts and enjoyed looking for the signage about the specialty exhibit on Hamilton.
Halfway through the exhibit, there was an immersive experience on the Battle of Brandywine, which super intrigued me, so we waited the couple minutes to get inside for it. It is set up so you are behind a wall with a set and screen in front of you that looks like the battlefield and they warn you that there will be vibrating and loud noises. I was prepared for a super immersive experience, but was not impressed by the 4 minute combat. I did not feel much rumbling and while there was surround sound, I honestly did not feel that I was in the middle of the battle any more than if I was watching a movie about it. The warnings got me so hyped that I am almost curious if an aspect of the experience was not working to make it so underwhelming. When I looked it up on the website, it mentioned that we were supposed to be taught how to stand in ranks, like we were actually soldiers in the field, so that may have helped, but the attendant did not do that with us.
Overall, there was lots to see and enjoy, a great amount of artifacts and one of my favorite “please touch” pieces was a piece of an original Liberty Tree that had fallen in a storm. Even with my decent amount of knowledge of the war, I learned a good amount from the museum, especially the area on the privateer ships.
We did not go to see Washington’s War Tent, which was on the second floor with the main exhibit as we had to be moving on and as I had not been impressed by any of the other movies, I was hesitant to wait for it. I will probably give it a try on our next visit.
There is a gift shop and quick service restaurant on the first floor of the museum. We had lunch in the restaurant and I found the prices to be surprisingly reasonable for a museum. I had a soup and flatbread, both of which were quite good. The gift shop was a nice size and had an entire wall of books, which I had to steer myself away from as I only had a small piece of luggage with me.
I am very glad that I had time to visit this new place of historical knowledge and do plan on making a return visit with Mike on our next extended stay in Philadelphia. I would recommend this museum to Philadelphia visitors as I feel that it compliments the historical places nearby well and supplies them with the needed background knowledge.
Have you been to the museum? What was your favorite exhibit? Leave your comments below and scroll through these pictures to see a little more of the Museum of the American Revolution.