Touring History #2

Yorktown Victory Center travel review

(You can see the end of the war from here.)

by Dan Shippey & Michael Burns

Time your arrival just right at The Yorktown Victory Center in Virginia and at the very moment your Mother-in-law exits the car, cannons fire. Whether they are firing at her or to salute her can be left to your own interpretation.

    As you enter, the museum divides into three main areas to visit: the museum building, the Revolutionary camp, and the colonial farm. If you are visiting with children you may want to head to the museum first and use the other two areas as a reward (for them) and relief (for you) since they have been on their best “museum behavior” while inside.

The museum is very well arranged and, in spite of having opened in 1976, is very modern and visitor friendly. The information and artifacts are well displayed and presented. Possibly the most visually striking is the area with artifacts recovered from the sunken British supply ship Betsy, which gives you a glimpse of what it looks like underwater. An amazing array of clothing, weapons and other artifacts are displayed throughout,
telling a story that leads from the Stamp Act to the battle of Yorktown itself.

    Once outside, you discover yourself on the edge of a wonderful Continental Army encampment. Demonstrations of cannon and mortar firing (as previously mentioned),


18th Century medicine,

an army field kitchen run regularly,
and the tents of officers and private soldiers are available to walk through.
The historical interpreters here do an outstanding job of keeping guests entertained, informed and involved. Be warned that the surgery tent is not for the faint-hearted. While they are not graphic in their portrayal, I have seen more than one person faint hearing the descriptions of procedures.

    Last off is the working 18th century farm. A great area for kids and adults to absolutely marvel at what went in to growing and harvesting crops during our country’s founding. A number of different plants and animals are being raised right there on the property, and again the historic interpreters are excellent.

     The Victory Center is currently expanding and is just at the start of a multi million dollar building project, but don’t let that deter you from visiting. The center is fully operational during construction and is very convenient to shopping and food in the historic city of Yorktown. If you are traveling with family it is about a half-day adventure,  still leaving time for exploring the town, surrender site and driving tour. I highly recommend the Victory Center. It manages to fill the eye and ear with plenty of history without ever becoming overbearing. You will undoubtably learn something new and most assuredly enjoy yourself doing it.

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