16 April, 2018
The Museum of the American Revolution celebrates its one-year anniversary this month.
Officials say the museum is having success in getting visitors in a city filled with revolutionary war history.
You can stop by the Museum of the American Revolution during a visit to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia was the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. A few years later, the city served as the early capital of the United States.
The museum will celebrate its first birthday on April 19. That is also the anniversary of the first gunshots fired at the battles of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, in 1775. These battles led to the revolutionary war between Britain and its North American colonies.
In honor of its first birthday, the Museum of the American Revolution is adding some exhibits while leaving its most popular ones unchanged.
"We had no idea how people were going to receive this story of the revolution as we have written it," said the museum's Scott Stephenson. "But the public response has been tremendous," he added, noting they have received support from all sides.
The campaign to build and open the museum succeeded in raising $173 million. The goal was $150 million.
Stephenson is the museum's vice president of collections, exhibitions and programming. He said this has been a good year to open a museum about the American Revolution for a number of reasons.
One was the public debate over the removal of Civil War statues honoring Confederate soldiers. In addition, Americans have debated the Second Amendment to the U.S. constitution because of school shootings. The amendment guarantees Americans the right to keep and bear arms.
Inside the museum
The museum's exhibit starts with the event in New York City where Americans pulled down the statue of Britain's King George III. The incident happened after a public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Stephenson said he has overheard several debates from museum visitors about the act of removing statues. "Most people would agree, regardless of their political affiliation, that this is one of those moments of deep reflection of who we are as a people," he said.
Planned new additions to the museum will include a look at Philadelphia at the time of Alexander Hamilton, the early American statesman. The museum also plans to open the "Revolution Place Discovery Center," which will recreate historical environments for families to experience.
Interacting with history
On a recent day, Bill and Amanda Hrehowsik and their two sons were visiting the Museum of the American Revolution from their home in Middletown, New Jersey.
The museum was at the top of their list to visit because it was new, and because 10-year-old Matthew Hrehowsik was studying the revolutionary war.
"It's really interesting, because there was some stuff I learned here that I didn't learn in school," he said.
Maud Lyon is president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. She told the Associated Press that it is difficult for all Philadelphia museums to get visitors to move "beyond the bell" — meaning the Liberty Bell.
Lyon added that said the Museum of the American Revolution is an important place "...that was much needed in Philly to tell the historic story we are known for."
I'm Lucija Millonig.
Kristen de Groot reported this story for the Associated Press. Phil Dierking adapted her story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
affiliation – n. the state of being closed allied with a person or group
exhibit – n. an object or a collection of objects that have been put together in a public space
tremendous – adj. of notable size, power or greatness
Confederate – adj. related to the Confederate States of America
response – n. a reaction; answer
reflection – n. an image that is seen on a shiny surface
bear – v. to carry
bell – n. a metallic device that gives off a sound when struckstuff – n. things
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