A Review of the Museum of the American Revolution

Am Rev

So many great new museums and so little time!  I still need to get to Philly to see the new Museum of the American Revolution.

In the meantime, I will have to be satisfied with Anna Leigh Todd‘s excellent review at AHA Today.  Todd is a doctoral student and Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

Here is a taste:

In 1818, John Adams reflected on the founding of the nation, asking, “But what do We mean by the American Revolution? Do We mean the American War?” His response signaled otherwise: “The Revolution was in the Minds and Hearts of the People.” According to Adams, the people put aside their natural allegiance to Britain once it was clear that their liberties were under attack. “This radical Change in the Principles, Opinions Sentiments and Affection of the People,” affirmed Adams, “was the real American Revolution.” 

Today, notions of liberty and equality are enduring reminders of the American Revolution in the collective consciousness of Americans. Yet these ideals have never been without limits and contradictions. At Philadelphia’s new Museum of the American Revolution, this disconnect between principles and experience lies at the heart of its exhibits, which take seriously both the power of ideas and the ways in which they fall short. Dedicated to telling the most complete version of the revolution’s history, the museum offers both popular and lesser-known perspectives on a historical moment that many Americans still find deeply resonant. The museum’s engaging and interactive exhibits challenge visitor assumptions at every turn, perhaps leading some to leave with an altered view of the events and the significance of the nation’s founding. For, as the brochure promises to visitors: “You don’t know the half of it.”

Read the rest here.