Despite Construction, Attendance at Yorktown Victory Center Increases in 2015

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The facade of the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The building currently serves as the Yorktown Victory Center. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)
The facade of the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The building currently serves as the Yorktown Victory Center. (Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)

The Yorktown Victory Center saw increases in paid attendance last year despite construction work that will transform it into the American Revolution Museum.

According to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, 154,634 ticket holders visited the Yorktown Victory Center individually or in groups in 2015. This is an increase of 1.1 percent from 2014.

Museum director Peter Armstrong said the American Revolution Museum has been under construction since mid-2013 but the lobby, shops, café, public amenities and the special exhibition space opened to visitors in March.

“We have provided a lot of things to do even though the galleries aren’t quite open yet,” Armstrong said.

Visitors can see small exhibits, a lecture and take photos in period attire. Plexiglas walls have been installed around areas that remain under construction so visitors can see the progress for themselves.

“It’s not just a wall that says ‘something is happening behind here,’” Armstrong said. “We let people see what’s going on.”

Armstrong said 95 percent of visitors surveyed say they had an excellent or a good experience at the museum. He attributes the work of staff and volunteers to maintaining a high quality experience for visitors during construction.

Armstrong added that visitors benefit from a ticket price that has not changed since 2012, despite the larger facility and the expansion of offerings.

“I think we’re giving the visitors a good visit even though there’s construction going on,” Armstrong said. “People are excited to come back when this is finished.”

Armstrong said the main galleries are set to open in October and the outside expansion will be complete in the spring of 2017.

Paid visitation at the Yorktown Victory Center and Jamestown Settlement, the foundation’s two museums, totaled 548,341 in 2015, an increase of 0.3 percent from 2014.

Admissions revenue totaled $5,283,684, a 5.1 percent increase the foundation attributes to a small increase in rates for Jamestown Settlement and the combination ticket as well as a slight increase in individual general admission sales.

The foundation reports 64.4 percent of total paid visitation at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center came from individual sales in 2015, while 35.6 percent came from group sales.

Additionally, there were 61,751 complimentary admissions in 2015, which came primarily from children under 6 years old and Historic Triangle residents.