The Museum of the American Revolution

Philadelphia’s latest historical institution offers an in-depth look at the country’s early days.

By Nell McShane Wulfhart

Opening on April 19 in the heart of Philadelphia’s colonial-era Old City neighborhood, the 118,000-square-foot Museum of the American Revolution (101 S. Third St.; 215-253-6731; admission, $19) is dedicated to the nation’s founding, from the rumblings of revolt in the 1760s through the Boston Tea Party to the first days of the new republic.

Powerful vignettes, reenactments and deep dives into the diaries and personal histories of Revolutionary War soldiers help connect visitors to the story of the revolution. The museum also offers plenty of family-friendly, high-tech interactive and immersive displays: You can design your own soldiers’ uniform or, in the Battlefield Theater, stand firm on the front line as the British infantry charges in a simulation of the Battle of Brandywine.

You’ll also find a gallery devoted to the faded canvas tent—which became known as “the first White House”—that George Washington lived in throughout much of the Revolutionary War. Other notable exhibits include a full-size replica of a type of privateer ship Americans used to fight the mighty British navy, and an extensive collection of Revolutionary War items inherited from the Valley Forge Historical Society, hundreds of which, from letters and diaries to booties made from a British soldier’s red coat, haven’t been seen by the public in decades.

The museum is within walking distance of many of the area’s other historical attractions, including the Liberty Bell, the National Constitution Center and Independence Mall. As a result, you can spend the whole day learning about some of the turning points in our nation’s history.

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: April 2017