Last days of AfterWARd exhibit features Knox Portrait, medal together

In the closing days of its special exhibit, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will feature a circa 1784 portrait of Henry Knox and the Society of the Cincinnati medal presented to him that same year, according to a news release.

AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America, has been running since June 10 and will end Monday. In the special exhibition’s final days, the museum will have the circa portrait on loan from the collections of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, which joins the medal on loan from The Knox Museum in Maine.

Knox, who was military officer of the Continental Army, the United States Army and the first United States Secretary of War, was a key founder of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783. The society is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization.

The special exhibition chronicles the post-war lives of veterans of the Siege of Yorktown, including Knox, Alexander Hamilton, James Lafayette and the Marquis de Lafayette.

Katherine Egner Gruber, special exhibitions curator for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, said she believes it’s the first time the portrait and the medal have been shown together, and called it a fitting close to the exhibit.

“That medal, it’s shown right there on Henry’s lapel,” Gruber said. “Just to be able to get at that connection, it’s right there on his uniform, that exact one, now you’re looking at it. I think it’s important to connect the artifact to the imagery. That’s a powerful thing.”

Gruber said the Legacy Wall in the special exhibition was also important to its success, calling it the crux of the exhibit. It features stories and images from veterans at different points in American history. Visitors are also able to contribute to the wall. It’s another element that she said has allowed the museum to share with people a clear and personal connection with the past.

“Being able to honor the legacy of veterans not only from the Siege of Yorktown, but also veterans all around us today … they’re all American heroes,” Gruber said.

Want to go?

The special exhibition, AfterWARd: The Revolutionary Veterans Who Built America, is included with daytime museum admission. Cost is $12 for adults, $7 for ages 6-12, and is free for William and Mary students, along with residents of Williamsburg, James City and York counties. Children younger than six are free. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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