As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, we are mindful of all that we have received from our founding fathers and mothers whose sacrifice led to our freedoms, equality, rights and liberties. We have the opportunity to honor their service by working together to establish a museum--The Museum of the American Revolution--that will keep the spirit of the American Revolution alive for generations to come.
The Museum of the American Revolution will house our distinguished collection of paintings and sculpture, textiles and weapons, manuscripts and rare books. These authentic witnesses to our nation’s birth will bring the extraordinary stories of the Revolutionary generation to life in engaging, accessible, interactive exhibits and educational programs.
The Museum will be built just steps from Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the First Bank of the United States. On these streets, British and Hessian troops marched forward to occupy the capitol, and, four years later, American and French soldiers marched toward victory at Yorktown. As David McCullough said in our recent video, "There could be no better place to build this museum than historic Philadelphia, where it all began."
With rising generations dangerously disconnected from our founding history, America needs a museum dedicated to the people, events and ideas that have inspired our greatest achievements as a nation and sustained us through our darkest hours. As we move forward to build this museum, we will need your continued involvement and support.
President and CEO
The American Revolution Center is a 501(c)(3) organization and your donation is tax-deductible. Official registration and financial information for The American Revolution Center may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll free within Pennsylvania, 800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
From left: Center Chairman H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest,
Mayor Michael Nutter, Governor Edward G. Rendell,
and US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
sign ceremonial certificates.
From left: Center President and CEO Bruce Cole, Center Chairman H.F.(Gerry) Lenfest, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., and Governor Edward G. Rendell.
On September 10, 2010, The American Revolution Center (the “Center”) joined with The National Park Service to celebrate the completion of a historic land exchange that strengthened two iconic National Parks for the benefit the American people. With this exchange, Valley Forge National Historical Park gained 78 acres of historic land and the Center received a site at Third and Chestnut Streets in the historic area of Philadelphia to build The Museum of the American Revolution.
Over 200 cultural, educational, civic and tribal leaders attended the celebration that took place at the Independence Visitor Center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Participating in the ceremony were U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, National Park Service Northeast Regional Director Dennis R. Reidenbach, American Revolution Center Board Chairman H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest and Center President and CEO Bruce Cole.
From left: Kerry Holton, President of The Delaware Nation; Mayor Michael A. Nutter; Ray Halbritter, CEO of the Oneida Indian Nation; and Governor Edward G. Rendell.
With the completion of the historic land exchange, The Museum of the American Revolution will now be built in our nation's most historically significant neighborhood, a stone's throw from iconic Revolutionary-era sites, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Christ Church, the First Bank of the United States and Carpenters' Hall, where the First Continental Congress met in 1774. Here in historic Philadelphia, nearly four million visitors from across the nation and the world come each year to walk in the footsteps of the generation whose achievements and ideals continue to shape the modern world.
The Museum will be nestled among streets and structures where armies marched and powerful ideas about liberty and equality were debated and declared more than two centuries ago. During the First Continental Congress, John Adams and fellow delegates strolled by each morning and evening as they shuttled between lodgings at City Tavern and momentous meetings at Carpenters' Hall.
General Washington's Continental Army marched confidently past the site toward Independence Hall in August 1777, only to be followed, a month later, by a long column of British, Loyalist and German troops. Four years later, with the fate of American Independence still uncertain, tired French and American regiments shook the neighborhood once again with fifes and drums and the rumble of artillery and wagons as they marched from Rhode Island to Yorktown.
A view of Independence Hall, located only two blocks from the site of
"The Museum of the American Revolution" in historic Philadelphia.
Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC
The Center has a distinguished collection of paintings and sculpture, textiles and weapons, manuscripts and rare books. The collection includes items owned and used by General George Washington during the War of Independence, including silver camp cups from his field equipment, wartime letters and books from his library, as well as the Commander-in-Chief's Standard--widely considered to be the earliest surviving 13-star American flag--that marked Washington's position on the battlefield.
Perhaps most significant, is General Washington's oval-shaped tent, which served as his sleeping quarters and office during the campaigns of the American War of Independence (shown at left). The tent, complete with its original leather storage case, wooden poles and pegs, is truly a national treasure--the first "oval office" of the first commander-in-chief of the United States.
The Center's extensive collection of historic firearms and edged weapons includes the fowling piece carried by Captain David Brown, leader of a company of minutemen from Concord, Massachusetts, and a British military musket carried by a soldier of the 4th, or King's Own Regiment, both of whom participated in the first battle of the War of Independence, April 19, 1775.
Xavier della Gatta's paintings of the Battles of Paoli and Germantown and William B. T. Trego's iconic 1883 painting The March to Valley Forge (shown at right) are among the artwork in the Center's collection.
Important manuscripts and rare books include soldiers' letters and orderly books as well as volumes owned by George Washington, Patrick Henry, George Mason and other founders.
Many of these national treasures have never been publically exhibited. Some must be conserved to ensure their long-term preservation in preparation for display in The Museum of the American Revolution. This work includes cleaning and restoring important historical paintings, stabilizing fragile manuscripts and textiles, and repairing historic firearms and edged weapons.
Among the items awaiting conservation are five early eighteenth-century English law books that belonged to the Virginia firebrand and Revolutionary orator, Patrick Henry. These rare volumes, three of which retain Patrick Henry's original printed bookplates (shown at left), were inventoried as part of his library when he died at Red Hill, Virginia in 1799, and were acquired at a 1910 sale of family relics in Philadelphia.
For more information about the Center's conservation program, please contact Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, Director of Collections and Interpretation.
Some of the Center's Revolutionary-era weapons are on display as part of the national traveling exhibition Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon. This exhibition began its nine-city tour on February 19, 2010 at the Senator John Heinz History Center and is now on display at the North Carolina Museum of History. It will travel to St. Paul, MN; Fort Worth, TX; Simi Valley, CA; Tulsa, OK; Cleveland, OH; and Las Vegas, NV, over the next three years.
During the spring and summer of 2010, the Center was part of a successful exhibition, Ancient Rome & America: The Classical Influence That Shaped Our Nation at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, with several objects on display, including William Rush's 1817 terra cotta bust of George Washington (shown at right).
One of the Center's most important collection items--the Commander-in-Chief's Standard--is on display at the Winterthur Museum's exhibition on Betsy Ross: The Life Behind the Legend.
The Center continues to expand its outreach efforts through special exhibitions, programs, and expanded on-line resources. Recently, a new video, produced by the History channel, was posted on the website to convey the importance of the American Revolution and its ongoing legacy.
The website includes a popular interactive quiz, a reading list, new lesson plans and links to a growing cadre of organizations that provide coverage of various aspects of the American Revolution. The Connections page suggests places you may wish to visit for an 18th century experience. You may also enjoy visiting the photo gallery to view highlights from events that have taken place this past year. Words of support from friends and colleagues are also available on-line.
Highlights from the Center's collection can be found on an interactive timeline that offers explanatory podcasts describing many items in the collection. Interactive technology allows you to zoom in and see the intricate detail on many of these Revolutionary treasures.
The Center's national survey of adult knowledge of the American Revolution continues to have an impact, nearly a year after it was first issued. The results show that an alarming 83% of adult Americans failed a basic test on knowledge of the American Revolution and the principles that have united all Americans. At the same time, 90% of adult Americans believe knowledge of the founding period is very important.
In December 2009, the results of the survey were published in a report titled The American Revolution. Who Cares? (cover shown at right). Since that time, more than 100 million people have been exposed to the survey through print, broadcast and on-line media coverage. The Weekly Standard, Education Week, the Examiner, Washington Business Journal, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo Politics, and an op-ed in Forbes Magazine online were among the hundreds of local, regional and national news outlets that promoted the survey.
The survey results, along with meetings and discussions with cultural, historical, civic, and educational stakeholders, continue to inform our educational planning. We welcome your comments.
With offices in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and suburban Philadelphia, the Center is reaching a wide range of local, regional, national and international audiences as well as City, State and Federal government agencies and individuals. In addition, the Center is working collaboratively with cultural, educational, historical and civic groups, including Mount Vernon, Williamsburg, the National Constitution Center, Historic Philadelphia, Christ Church, American Philosophical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and many others to ensure that programming will enhance and support the work being done by others.
Several large and small foundations have recognized the Center's progress through their support in 2010. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, located in Milwaukee, WI, provided funds for educational outreach; The Grainger Foundation, located in Lake Forest, IL, supported curatorial work; and The Lehrman Institute and the Hertog Foundation provided support for the enhancement of educational resources on the website.
The Richard Lounsbery Foundation provided funds for a series of lectures, focused on the roots of the relationship between the United States and France with a focus on health, science, and the arts. The first lecture will take place at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Dr. William Durden, President of Dickinson College, will discuss the extraordinary life and ideas of Dr. Benjamin Rush, exploring the strong influence of the French Enlightenment on Revolutionary-era America.
Drs. Jack and Pina Templeton provided funds to host a dinner and discussion in association with the preview of a new PBS documentary, Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton. Economic scholar John Steele Gordon and journalist Richard Brookhiser participated in the discussion along with the film's producer/directors Michael and Gina Pack.
The Center was selected to participate in the Preservation Needs Assessment Program, Track I, by Philadelphia's Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA). CCAHA is part of the Philadelphia Stewardship Program, funded by the William Penn Foundation.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided support for the advancement of the Center's work in Philadelphia.
The Center's Board of Directors, chaired by H.F (Gerry) Lenfest, continues to provide leadership and support. Three new Board members were added in 2010. They are: John B. Adams Jr., President, CEO and director of Bowman Companies, a private real estate holding company in Virginia; Stephen H. Case, managing director and general counsel at Emerald Development Managers LP based in New York City, and Ambassador Louise V. Oliver who served as the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and resides in Washington, D.C.
These new Board members join the growing ranks of supporters that represent virtually every state in the nation. Those who have given $500 or more are recognized below.
John B. Adams, Jr.
American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit
Boeing Charitable Trust
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Josiah Bunting III
Captain J.A. Carlton, USN (Ret.)
Richard E. Caruso
Stephen H. Case
Bruce and Doreen Cole
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Ginger H. and H. Richard Dietrich III
Margaret (Peggy) Pace Duckett
The Grainger Foundation
Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
Robert E. Keith
Adrian R. King, Jr.
Lehrman Institute (The)
H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest
Barbara J. and Howard S. Mitnick
Thomas N. Pappas
Bob and Barbara Safford
Robert H. Smith Foundation
Martha McGeary Snider
Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge
R. Scott and Donna J. Stephenson
Drs. Jack and Pina Templeton
Universal Leaf Foundation
*Donors of $500 or more as of November 19, 2010
2010 In-kind donations
The American Boychoir
Blank Rome LLP
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry
Grenfell Architecture, PLLC
Historic Philadelphia, Inc.
Independence Visitor Center Corporation
Philadelphia Society of Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard
Visual Communications, Inc.
*In-kind donations of $5,000 or more as of November 19, 2010
The Museum of the American Revolution will be a living memorial to the Revolutionary generation. Become a part of this historic effort by offering your support. As recognition for your gift of $250 or more, you will receive a signature lapel pin replicating one of the great treasures in our collection--the Commander-in-Chief's Standard. The Standard is believed to be the earliest surviving 13-star American flag and has been traditionally identified as having marked General Washington's presence at his headquarters and in the battlefield.
Board of directors
H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, Chairman
Thomas N. Pappas, Vice Chairman and Treasurer
David Acton, Secretary
Bruce M. Cole, President and CEO
John B. Adams, Jr.
Carl M. Buchholz
Josiah Bunting III
Stephen H. Case
H. Richard Dietrich III
Margaret (Peggy) Pace Duckett
Adrian R. King, Jr.
Barbara J. Mitnick
Louise V. Oliver
Arthur L. Powell
Robert O. Safford
Martha McGeary Snider
Jide J. Zeitlin