After opening its indoor exhibits in October, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown continued to lay the groundwork for interactive outdoor exhibits, which now are open to the public.
As an addition to the 80,000 square-foot building, the outdoor living-history exhibits include a Revolution-era war encampment and farm, as well as an artillery shooting amphitheater.
"The farm is all brand new, every bit of it. It's actually based on a Yorktown County farmer, Edward Moss and his wife and four kids. They lived in Charles Parish, which is down near present day Seaford, Virginia," said Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation interpreter programming manager Homer Lanier.
The 13-day grand opening celebration showcases 10 years of work and includes the introduction of a fully functional tobacco barn, master's quarters, slave quarters, live animals, war encampment tents and interactive outdoor activities.
"The Continental Army encampment space is more than three times the size of what it was, so now we can show two companies," said Lanier. "You've seen General Washington's Army on the big screen, but now you can come out here and sign enlistment papers, get your continental dollars, go into a tent and see how you'll be living."
Used as an extension of the indoor museum, which has more than 500 artifacts, interactive exhibits and multiple films, Lanier hopes the outdoor area will serve as a hands-on learning tool for visitors to experience a transformational eduction related to the American Revolution.
"Once you've had a snoot-full inside the building, then you get to come outside and work with our historical interpreters," Lanier said. "This is a classroom and we put it together with the things you've learned in the galleries."
The grand opening celebration includes a daily salute to each of the 13 original states — Virginia's is April 1, the same day the Yorktown Victory Center officially was dedicated in 1976. The American Revolution Museum replaced the Yorktown Victory Center.
The day also will serve as the new museum's official dedication day.
The museum also added the last two interactive exhibits and four mobile-device applications that allow visitors to choose different types of tours as they explore the museum's grounds.
"People have been coming because they've heard about (the museum) and have been reading about it for years. They're excited to see where we are at this point," Lanier said. "We believe we have a museum here that all Virginians can be proud of."
Joseph can be reached by phone at 757-374-3134.
Want to go?
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Where: American Revolution Museum at Yorktown; 200 Water Street, Yorktown.
Cost: $12 adult, $7 children 6-12
More info: historyisfun.org or 888-593-4682