2012 A Revolutionary Museum Challenge
For more than a century, a priceless collection of relics of the American Revolution has been slowly gathering, waiting for an appropriate home. Included are the tent George Washington slept in during his war campaigning (carefully preserved by generations of admirers), works of art, manuscripts, weapons, and historical objects.
Late in 2012, a private donor campaign was kicked off to erect a new Museum of the American Revolution (a corner of U.S. culture that has been inexplicably under-explored in museums). The facility will be located just steps from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in the historic section of Philadelphia. It will open in 2017 to tell the tale of America’s birth, and house artifacts like those mentioned above. Architect Robert Stern designed the building, which will occupy the site of the failed Independence Park Visitor’s Center.
Catalyzing the creation of this new institution was a $40 million challenge grant—one of the largest matching offers ever made by a U.S. philanthropist. The donor was Philadelphia-area media mogul Gerry Lenfest, who has previously given generously to cultural causes. Paired with an additional $40 million from other private contributors, his gift will begin the creation of the new museum and 28,000 square feet of exhibit space filled with rare objects, images and films, and interpretive information describing the fiery invention of the American nation.
- Campaign for the American Revolution Brochure, amrevmuseum.org/sites/default/files/press-kit/Campaign%20for%20the%20Museum%20of%20the%20American%20Revolution.pdf
- Stephan Salisbury, “Lenfest issues $40 million challenge for American Revolution museum,” Philadelphia Inquirer news, June 12, 2012, articles.philly.com/2012-06-12/news/32175746_1_first-national-museum-new-history-museum-american-revolution-center