The future American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will use 21st-century storytelling techniques to bring visitors back to the 18th century, and a curator has been hired to make that vision a reality.
Martha B. Katz-Hyman has been hired to provide support in the development of media for the future museum’s exhibition galleries, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation announced Friday. The American Revolution Museum is planned to replace the Yorktown Victory Center by late 2016.
Katz-Hyman, a Newport News resident, has worked with historic sites and museums from Virginia to Massachusetts. An independent curator since 2008, Katz-Hyman co-edited a two-volume encyclopedia of slave life – “World of a Slave: Encyclopedia of the Material Life of Slaves in the United States – in 2011.
She started her museum career after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Simmons College in Boston, working as an exhibition assistant with the city’s Museum of Fine Arts from 1974-1976. She earned a master’s degree in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Programs of the State University of New York at Oneonta.
She worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation from 1985 to 2008, with much of her research focused on the lives of slaves as told through the items they owned and used.
Katz-Hyman will work on developing the media elements of the new museum, which will strive to tell the complete story of the American Revolution, from the first rumbles of dissent to the formation of the United States following the war. The 80,000-square-foot museum will feature a movie display showing the Siege at Yorktown, with moving seats, smoke and other special effects. Exhibits will also recreate a port city, where visitors will learn about trade, along with display halls designed to mirror the Georgian architecture of the period.
The museum’s curatorial staff will be led by Thomas E. Davidson, longtime senior curator at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. Katz-Hyman will work with outreach education and special services staff members to curate media elements for the museum.