Philly museum to tell story of American Revolution

Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:03am EDT
 
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By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters Life!) - In an unmarked warehouse on the outskirts of Philadelphia, two blue cardboard boxes contain some of the great treasures of the American Revolution.

The boxes are the unlikely repository for George Washington's tent, which the first U.S. president used during his army's battles against the British between 1777 and 1781.

Next to a drab row of metal cabinets a few feet away are two gleaming silver drinking cups inscribed with the large letter 'W' that were made for Washington. On a table nearby lies an array of military rifles and muskets used by Continental troops against the British during the American War of Independence.

The artifacts, and thousands more, are part of an extensive collection housed by the American Revolution Center (ARC), a nonprofit organization that is planning to build the country's first national museum of the revolution, which is expected to open within the next five years in central Philadelphia.

Although different aspects of the revolution have been told by other public institutions, R. Scott Stephenson, director of collections and interpretation for the American Revolution Center, said there is no central source for the history of the country's founding.

"We want to be the place that's the portal to get the big picture," he explained in an interview.

CHANGE OF PLANS

The ARC was planning to build its museum and a conference center on 78 acres of private land at Valley Forge National Historical Park in the Philadelphia suburbs, where Washington's troops camped during the harsh winter of 1777-78.   Continued...