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Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, PA

Started by gwb123 , Apr 16 2017 07:19 PM

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#1 gwb123

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 07:19 PM

After two decades of controversy and political wrangling, The Museum of the American Revolution has finally opened in the historic

district of Philadelphia.

 

 

http://www.philly.co...lt-history.html

 

"All begins with W. Herbert Burk, patriotic history enthusiast and Episcopal minister, who considered Valley Forge to be sanctified ground and General George Washington almost divine. Burk, who died in 1933, scoured the nation for memorabilia, beginning in 1909 with the purchase of the general’s field tent, followed by Washington’s battle flag, and a cascade of uniforms, weapons, cooking utensils, furniture, books, paintings, and documents.

 

Burk housed all of this in his increasingly cramped Valley Forge Historical Museum, a part of his Valley Forge Memorial Chapel complex, located in middle of the park, and there it remained for many years under the auspices of the Burk-founded Valley Forge Historical Society."

 

Eventually the collection grew to over 3,000 items, of which 400 will be on display.

 

The original plan was to have a modern museum built at Valley Forge, but that fell through for a variety of reasons.

 

A settlement was finally reached where land that had been acquired adjacent to the park was swapped for use of what had been the National Park Service visitors center in downtown Philadelphia.

 

http://www.mainlinem...3c1fb3efc6.html

 

(The photos are from the cited articles.)

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  • Revolution 2.JPG


#2 gwb123

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 07:32 PM

As welcome as this is, the design of the museum is not without critics:

 

http://www.philly.co...ga-saffron.html

 

Indeed, considering the importance of the American Revolution to our country, and its impact reaching even to today, the display space does seem to be a bit limited.  Please see this virtual tour.

 

http://www.philly.co...Revolution.html

 

Perhaps the sad truth is that many of the artifacts of the period have become too scattered to justify a larger display.  Then again, by the article's account, only 10% of the collection is on display.

 

Given the wide variety of uniforms and flags of the period, even with reproductions they could have filled much more space.

 

Still, given the other historic sites within the historic district of Philadelphia, it will make a worthy  addition to a tour including Independence Hall, Carpenter Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross's House, Efrim's Ally, and several of the colonial era churches in the area.

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  • Revolution 1.jpg


#3 gwb123

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 07:53 PM

Just a personal note:

 

I grew up outside of Philadelphia and early American history was everywhere you turned.  Sometimes folks dug it up in their own backyards.

 

As a kid, we made numerous trips to Valley Forge.  Back then you could run up and down the restored redoubts and defensive positions.  I thought it was amazing they still existed.  Later I learned they had been partially restored by the WPA.  In any case, they apparently don't let the kids do that any more for fear of wearing them down.

 

The highlight of the trip was to visit the Valley Forge chapel mentioned in the article.  It was a very auspicious place designed to inspire awe and reverence for the heroes of the Revolution.  Down a hallway from the chapel was indeed a large display case with the very poorly displayed Washington's Campaign Tent. 

 

Even as a kid I knew it was a really significant thing.  How had it survived all of these years?  Were they sure it was really Washington's?  (You have to remember this is the region where every third historic home had a sign that said "Washington slept here".)  And if they kept Washington's tent, what happened to all of the other tents that belonged to the Army.  Where were they?

 

In the basement was a museum of sorts, with old style glass and dark wood display cases.  They also had one of the most numerous miniature soldier collections I've ever seen, with rows upon rows of them in march order.

 

This was heavy stuff when you are 8 years old. 

 

In any case, it is good to know that it has all found a home, even if less than perfect, where thousands more will get to see it.

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#4 tsakers85

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 10:06 AM

Looks like I will be headed back to Philadelphia soon.



#5 ssggates

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 05:00 PM

That is great to see, thanks for posting it!

#6 River Patrol

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:37 AM

Great information....I'll be heading there soon enough!



#7 gwb123

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 02:29 PM

CBS video short story about the opening this last week:

 

http://www.cbsnews.c...s-philadelphia/

 

And from the local NBC affiliate, a 20 minute look that includes some of the rare artifacts.

 

http://www.nbcphilad...-419767383.html



#8 M24 Chaffee

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 06:02 AM

I live very close and I'm looking forward to visiting this new museum. When I first saw some of the earlier photos I wondered how many of the artifacts would be on display. It's never enough for me! As mentioned in the one article, in the newer museums they do use a portion of the space for private events, etc. I guess being able to use the space to generate more cash flow helps to promote building new museums. I'm sure they'll rotate the artifacts and exhibits.
I've also heard that there is a very large collection of Civil War artifacts here and there was/is talk of a museum to display them also.

Frank


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