Visitors can get a closer look at American, French and British artillery used during the American Revolution at a special exhibition at the American Revolution Museum.
“Blast from the Past” opens June 10 and provides more than just a battery of cannons for visitors to glance over. The exhibition aims to be an all-encompassing look at all things artillery with artifacts and interactive experiences. People can learn about the technology behind artillery, innovations in design and how troops transported the weaponry that proved key to American victory during the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, according to an American Revolution Museum news release.
“It looks at all those aspects,” Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation spokeswoman Tracy Perkins said. “We’re excited to present a look at the math and science of artillery.”
The six-month exhibition is the first major artillery event to be held at the museum and features five artillery pieces built in the 18th century. Among them are a British 3-pounder bronze field cannon cast in 1776 and a French 4-pounder bronze battalion cannon cast sometime around 1773. Also on display will be an artilleryman’s pocket guide and references, Perkins said.
In the museum’s Continental Army encampment, visitors can manufacture cartridges and learn about the math and science behind how to load, aim and fire a cannon. Visitors can also take their places on the frontlines with a Continental Army artillery crew to help fire a cannon. The crew will enlist visitors every day to create a more immersive experience for people to learn about the operation of artillery, Perkins said.
The exhibition includes several special programs throughout its run. Artillery Though the Ages takes place during the exhibition’s opening weekend and takes a look at the development of artillery across 400 years and explore the roles of an American Revolutionary War gun crew.
The program’s opening weekend includes firing demonstrations and a lecture on General Henry Knox, the Continental Army’s chief of artillery.
Other special programs include A Weekend of Revolutionary Noise, which takes place Oct. 20-21 in conjunction with the annual Yorktown Victory celebration. Museum-goers can visit re-enactor encampments and listen to an evening performance of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and other songs played by the William and Mary Symphony Orchestra.
The program is included in museum admission.
Want to go?
When: June 10 to Jan. 5.
Where: American Revolution Museum, 200 Water St., Yorktown
Cost: Included with museum admission, which is $15 for adults, $7.50 for children 6-12 and free for children younger than 6. Williamsburg, James City and York residents and William and Mary students are free with proof of residency.
For more information, visit historyisfun.org/artillery or call 757-253-4838.
Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.