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At this event, visitors can experience gallery exhibits, including the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater, and outdoor living-history programs each day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold daily at the expansive history museum through immersive films, exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. On October 14, visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors and take part in interpretive demonstrations.
Interpretive Demonstrations & Musical Performances
Visitors to the Continental Army encampment will discover aspects of military life, from enlistment to troop supplies and flintlock muskets to 18th-century medical care. Throughout the day, visitors can discover military tactics on land and at sea with a look at the Battle of the Capes, one of the most significant naval battles in American history. Visitors also can learn from the Department of the Geographers, 1777-1783, to learn about the equipment, technical skills, and discipline to create maps of strategic and tactical importance.
Artillery demonstrations, showcasing the varied roles of the artillery crew, will take place in the outdoor amphitheater at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m., followed by the crew firing a salute in honor of the victory at Yorktown.
Farm visitors can learn about typical life of a Revolution-era farming family, including how families produced homespun clothing during the war as both a necessity and a political statement of patriotism during the war. Special demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will illustrate how to create colored fabrics using natural dyes and pigments. Visitors also can explore 18th-century meal preparation and preservation by middling farmers and enslaved people. Visitors also can enjoy demonstrations on gardening, basket weaving and pastimes.
Films & Exhibits
Daily indoors, visitors can take in the award-winning “Liberty Fever” introductory film and tour immersive exhibition galleries, including a 4D-experiential “Siege of Yorktown” theater that transports visitors to the Yorktown battlefield in 1781, with wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire. Actors portray allied Generals Washington and Rochambeau and British General Cornwallis as well as Joseph Plumb Martin, a member of the Continental Army’s Corps of Sappers and Miners who helped build fortifications at Yorktown, and Sarah Osborn, who followed the Continental Army with her husband and served food and coffee to the troops, as well as Alexander Hamilton in his first military role in the Continental Army and his famous words – “Rush on boys!” – as the militia secures Redoubts 9 and 10.
“Around the War in 30 Minutes” classroom presentations, beginning each hour at 10 a.m., will provide an overview of key events, battles and the leaders of the American Revolution.
Commemorative Weekend Activities at Yorktown Battlefield & Historic Yorktown
Colonial National Historical Park – Yorktown Battlefield, including battlefield tour roads and grounds, site of the climactic 1781 siege, are open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. The Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center, with historic exhibits and the park film, is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., along with the Eastern National Park Store. Visitors can join a park ranger for ranger-led programs daily and view the program schedule online or at the visitor center.
On October 19, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Nelson House, Dudley Diggs Home, Swan Tavern, and Poor Potter sites, located throughout the village of Yorktown, will be open for self-guided tours. Yorktown Battlefield also will offer free admission as part of the Yorktown Day celebration.
The Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center is located at 1000 Colonial Parkway at the eastern end of the Colonial Parkway, 12 miles from Williamsburg. For more information, call 757.898.2410 or visit nps.gov/colo.
Visiting Historic Yorktown
Throughout the weekend, Historic Yorktown visitors can enjoy several outdoor activities, such as sails aboard the Schooner Alliance at the Riverwalk Landing piers as well as bicycle, paddleboard, and kayak rentals and Segway tours from Patriot Tours & Provisions.
Yorktown Day Parade & Patriotic Exercises – October 19
The modern-day observance of Yorktown Day traces its roots to 1922, when the Daughters of the American Revolution began an annual wreath-laying ceremony, which set the tradition upon which the current Yorktown Day is based. Today, Yorktown Day commemorative events are co-sponsored by the Yorktown Day Association, comprised of 13 civic, patriotic, and government organizations, and the National Park Service, Colonial National Historical Park.
The official Yorktown Day Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. The route will follow Yorktown’s Main Street and pass in front of the Monument to Alliance and Victory, erected in 1881 to commemorate the military victory a century before. Included in the 35 parade units are representatives of all branches of the U.S. military, fife and drum corps – including The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps – JROTC and NJROTC units, and patriotic organizations. This year’s parade is sponsored by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and Colonial National Historical Park.
At 11 a.m., Colonial National Historical Park wreath-laying ceremonies at the Monument to Alliance and Victory will honor British, French and Canadian forces in memory of those who fought and died during the siege of Yorktown in 1781.
Patriotic exercises will commence at the Monument to Alliance and Victory at 11:15 a.m. with the annual pageant of flags, a colorful display that includes the American and French national colors, the flags of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia, and the flags of the 13 Yorktown Day Association members.
About the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s days) and located on Route 1020 near the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells the story of the nation’s founding. Comprehensive indoor exhibits and outdoor living history areas capture the transformational nature and epic scale of the Revolution and its relevance today.
Admission tickets can be purchased online or in person. Plan your visit today or call 757.253.4838 for more information. Parking at the museum is free for museum visitors. A free shuttle service is available to Historic Yorktown on the Yorktown Trolley.
On Yorktown Day on October 19, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown offers free admission to active duty, reserve, and retired military personnel and up to three direct family members with military identification.
Special event activities on October 14 at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are made possible in part by the York County Arts Commission and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc. Annual Fund.