Saturday, December 2, 2023

‘Liberty Celebration’ Planned at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown July 4

Salute our nation’s independence during artillery firing demonstrations at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. (Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

YORKTOWN — The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will mark the 246th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with its “Liberty Celebration” July 4.

Visitors will be treated to interpretive programs, artillery demonstrations and learn about the challenges that faced our nation’s founders, including those who signed the Declaration of Independence, as well as those for whom the new nation’s rights of freedom and liberty did not yet apply.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Experiences will include:

  • A rare July 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence duplicated in mass to spread the word of liberty from town to town, currently showcased in an immersive gallery exhibit surrounded by signatures of this historic document’s signers.
  • “Liberty Fever” — the museum’s introductory film, shown throughout the day in the main theater.
  • Outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.
  • The “Great American 4th of July Sing-along” led by the Cigar Box String Band, playing songs from American history on the fiddle, banjo and bones at 12, 2 and 3:30 p.m.
  • “Meet John Rollison” at 12:30 and 2:15 p.m. with character interpreter James Cameron as John Rollison (c.1723-1780), a free Black man from York County who signed the Oath of Allegiance to the Patriot government in 1777 and provided supplies to Patriot militia troops and navy.
  • Throughout the day, six 30-minute indoor presentations on the events that led to the Declaration of Independence and the people inspired by its message.
  • Share thoughts on liberty by adding them to the “Liberty Tree,” an interactive feature on a 17-foot sculptural tree, rooted in the museum galleries.

Visitors can also experience outdoor living-history experiences to discover daily life for 18th-century soldiers and citizens in life-size re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.

At the Continental Army encampment, historical interpreters will describe and depict the daily routines of American soldiers, with demonstrations of musket and artillery firing, 18th-century surgical and medical practices, and the role of the quartermaster in managing troop supplies.

In the artillery amphitheater, visitors can feel the thunder of a cannon blast as historical interpreters fire a salute to our nation’s founders during artillery demonstrations at 11 a.m., 3 and 4:30 p.m., weather permitting. At 1:30 p.m., visitors can take part in a militia drill to train as a member of the Virginia militia.

Throughout the day on the re-created Revolution-era farm, visitors can learn how farmers during the Revolution became more self-sufficient by growing and processing flax, cotton and wool for homespun cloth.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can see what is cooking in the farm kitchen as historical interpreters prepare a variety of 18th-century dishes on the hearth using historical recipes from Virginia’s earliest cookbooks, as well as foods of enslaved people and the evolution of period dishes through cultural influences. Food preparation is for demonstration purposes only.

Liberty Celebration” is supported in part by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc. Annual Fund, and is included with museum admission: $18.00 for adults, $9.00 for youth ages 6-12 and free for ages 5 and under. A value-priced combination ticket with Jamestown Settlement is $30.00 for adults and $15.00 for ages 6-12. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. Tickets are available online or in person at both museums.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and located on Route 1020 near the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown. Parking at the museum is free for museum visitors. On July 4, the Yorktown Trolley will offer free shuttle service to Historic Yorktown for its Independence Day Celebrations from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.The gift shop and café are open during museum hours.

For more information, visit

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