We’ve all read about the American Revolution in history books and know the story, for the most part – how a ragtag team of soldiers was able to defeat a global superpower leading to the birth of America. However, after visiting one of Philly’s newest museums, the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City (3rd and Chestnut), I’ve realized that there is a huge difference between reading these facts in a history book and experiencing them firsthand.
As part of my internship on the Student Engagement team with Campus Philly, I had the pleasure of visiting the museum and it was absolutely incredible. I started my visit by watching a short film about the Revolutionary War and how this act of defiance against the British instilled a long standing value of activism in American culture.
From there I walked through the entire exhibit, starting with life in America just as Britain began to impose serious taxes. As I traveled through time I was not only able to read different facts about history, but could also see artifacts from the time period, ranging from swords to muskets, to even notebooks detailing the supplies the Revolutionaries had in their possession. By far the most surprising, and awesome, part about this museum was the ability for visitors to actually touch some of the exhibits. I touched a very old Revolutionary-era cannon!
Some of the most fascinating exhibits were the Faces of the American Revolution, the interactive battle, and testimonies from soldiers. The Faces of the American Revolution was a portrait gallery featuring the stories of the last surviving Revolutionaries and the roles they played in gaining America’s Independence. The interactive battles gave me the chills – the exhibit truly made me feel the terror of what it was like to be a soldier on the front lines of some of the biggest battles in the war. Reading what the soldiers experienced on both sides of the conflict humanized their stories, and put into perspective all that they had to overcome, from impossibly rough weather to limited supplies.
One of the most intriguing facts I learned was that the victory was not achieved by solely white colonists, but that the war was also fought by slaves and Native Americans who also sought freedom, and fought to live peacefully in this country. Surprisingly, slaves in the colonies were divided, with some supporting the Revolutionaries and others supporting the British. I loved how the museum was not just focused on the Founding Fathers, but on all parties involved in the war. I found it really interesting to see how this revolution provided women with a basis to start advocating for their own rights. I learned so much!
Seeing the struggles that America’s ancestors faced truly showed me that with perseverance and working together toward a common goal, anything can be accomplished. It is the American way to always fight for what is right.
This museum is perfect for all ages with specific spots designated for kids to have a hands-on experience learning about the struggles the Revolutionaries faced. If you’re interested in the history of our country, or just need an indoor activity to do on a hot day this summer, don’t miss out on the Museum of the American Revolution. Learn more about this museum on Campus Philly’s Open Arts website, and follow us on Instagram to learn about special events taking place at the museum. Thanks for following along and stay tuned for more insider looks at Philly’s incredible arts and cultural institutions! – Thomas