Museum of the American Revolution: 11 Fabulous Finds

Philadelphia is home to over 100 museums, so most of us won’t ever be able to visit them all. However, the Museum of the American Revolution is a must-see.

Outside door of the Museum of the American Revolution

The Museum of the American Revolution is in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. It is conveniently located next to Independence National Historical Park.

The atrium of the Museum of the American Revolution

There is a fee to visit the Museum of the American Revolution. We saved a few bucks by purchasing tickets online before our visit.

Mannequins in revolutionary era costume at the Museum of the American Revolution

11 Amazing Artifacts at the Museum of the American Revolution

Depending on your time and interest, you can spend as little as a few hours in this museum or a whole day. However, if you are short on time, here are 11 amazing things that you don’t want to miss.

1. A Tax Stamp

In 1765, British Parliament passed the Stamp Act. This act levied a tax on all printed paper used in the colonies. Paper was stamped in Britain and sold in the colonies. This newspaper includes one of these tax stamps.

Newspaper with a tax stamp

2. USA Button

The Second Continental Congress first used the name United States of America in 1776. By 1777, the abbreviation “USA” became common. Continental Army soldiers had 25 of these pewter buttons on their uniforms.

USA pewter button from Continental Army uniform at the Museum of the American Revolution

3. Punch Bowl

This bowl features the merchant ship Triphena. In 1765, The Triphena sailed to Britain with a message asking Parliament to reconsider the Stamp Act. Archeologists found this bowl in a privy pit at the museum site.

Blue and white broken punch bowl with a picture of the Triphena at the Museum of the American Revolution

4. A Piece of a Liberty Tree

During the revolutionary period, colonists designated Liberty Trees throughout the colonies as a symbol and rallying point for their dissatisfaction with British rule. This board is from the Annapolis Liberty Tree, which experienced hurricane damage in 1999.

Tree shaped display featuring a panel from a Liberty Tree

5. Earthenware Mug

English companies appealed to American markets by capitalizing on discontent in the colonies by selling products that appealed to their desire for liberty. This mug from around 1775 states, “Success to ye City of Boston, Liberty for Ever.”

A mug with the phrase Success to ye City of Boston Liberty for Ever with painting of Boston

6. First Edition Poetry Book

Phillis Wheatley was an African American poet who came to America as a child slave to Boston. Purchased by the Wheatley family, she became the first published African American Author. This book is Wheatley’s first published work. It is a first edition book and includes her signature

First edition poetry book with Phillis Wheatley's signature at the Museum of the American Revolution

7. Continental Soldier’s Coat

Early in the American Revolution, many soldiers lacked official uniforms. So many troops had to wear their civilian clothing. This coat from the early 1770s is typical of men’s clothing in the area.

Red coat with buttons.

8. March to Valley Forge

In 1777, the British occupied the then capital of Philadelphia. George Washington had the Continental Army spend the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, 18 miles from Philadelphia. The March to Valley Forge by William B. T. Trego was painted in 1883 and depicts the troops’ arrival to Valley Forge.

Painting of soldiers and George Washington on a horse marching to Valley Forge at Museum of the American Revolution

9. Arms of Independence

The Museum of the American Revolution includes an Arms of Independence Display. This display contains firearms, swords, and powder horns used during the Revolutionary War. Visitors can use touchscreens to get an up-close look at these historical weapons.

Display case with weapons from the Revolution.

10. King George Statue Fragments

In 1770, the British erected a statue of King George III in the Bowling Green area of Manhatten. George Washington had the Declaration of Independence read to troops and the public on July 9, 1776. The grievances outlined in the declaration motivated the people to tear down the statue. Most of the statue was melted down for musket balls, but these fragments remain.

Fragments from the King George III at the Museum of the American Revolution

11. George Washington’s War Tent

The highlight of the Museum of the American Revolution’s collection is George Washington’s War Tent. Washington used this tent during the Revolutionary War. The museum offers scheduled showings of the tent throughout the day. (No photography is allowed.) This tent is a must-see. It is remarkable that this unique artifact still exists.

Doors to the theater at the Museum of the American Revolution where the Washington War Tent is on display

The City of Philadelphia was at the heart of the American Revolution. So this city is the perfect place for the Museum of the American Revolution. Here, visitors can get close to revolution-era artifacts and get a taste of what life was like for the colonists. This museum is undoubtedly worth visiting again and again.

Check out Philadelphia Fun: 21 Things to Do in the City of Brotherly Love.

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