Museum Launches New Interactive, Multimedia Timeline of the American RevolutionApril 17, 2023
Multimedia Timeline is Free and Accessible to Students, Educators, and Digital Explorers Around the World
The Museum of the American Revolution announced today the launch of its new interactive, multimedia Timeline of the American Revolution. Using nearly 100 historical objects, works of art, textiles, and documents from the Museum’s rich collection, the online Timeline explores both key moments and surprising stories from the American Revolution through a visually rich and user-friendly digital experience. The Timeline is now available for free to virtual visitors around the world.
The Timeline uses high-quality, zoomable images and descriptions of each object, as well as links to related material, to place the objects in their historical context and facilitate exploration of America’s founding and the ongoing relevance of the Revolution for diverse audiences. Short videos with Museum experts highlight key features and stories about selected items, allowing users to dive even deeper. Users can extend their experience by creating and downloading their own curated timelines using the “My Timeline” feature.
"We are so excited to be able to offer this multimedia Timeline as part of our ever-expanding menu of digital resources for K-12 students, educators, parents, and other digital explorers,” said Adrienne Whaley, the Museum’s Director of Education and Community Engagement. “Our hope is that the Timeline will spark users’ curiosity, encourage discovery, and inspire deeper exploration of the powerful and fascinating stories of the American Revolution and its people.”
The Timeline works on modern browsers on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices and offers a downloadable version for offline users. As part of the Museum’s commitment to accessibility, the Timeline is Section 508 Compliant to ensure that information is easily accessible to individuals with disabilities.
The Timeline is divided into four key sections:
- Pride and Protest (1754-1775)
In 1763, at the end of the Seven Years’ War, people in America had to decide if they could accept George III as their king and Parliament as a governing authority. Tensions started to rise as people in both America and England disagreed about this, leading to protests, boycotts, propaganda, and violence. Artifact highlights include a musket purchased by the colony of New Jersey, a sword carried by a Scottish officer during the Seven Years’ War, a Stamp Act stamp, Patrick Henry’s law books, an “Arms of Liberty” punch bowl, and a copy of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral written and signed by Phillis Wheatley.
- War and Independence (1775-1783)
The Revolutionary War started on April 19, 1775, in Massachusetts; Americans declared their independence in 1776. As the war expanded north to Canada and south to the Carolinas, the Continental Army experienced many challenges and victories until the Peace of Paris, signed in 1783, brought an end to the war. Artifact highlights include the pistols of German-American Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg, the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence, a brass cap worn by a Hessian soldier, a wooden canteen marked “USTATES”, George Washington’s headquarters tent, and Baron von Steuben’s book of “Regulations” for the Continental Army.
- A New Nation (1783-1807)
Having won their independence, Americans realized that they needed to improve their government. After much debate, they created a federal Constitution in 1787, establishing a more powerful national government. Tensions with Britain flared again in the early 1800s, leading to the War of 1812 and a second defeat of Britain by the Americans. Artifact highlights include a button celebrating Washington’s inauguration as President of the United States, the pension of a soldier who was injured in battle, the door handle to the Philadelphia house of George Washington during his presidency, and a punchbowl with a poem declaring “Freedom to the Slave.”
- An Ongoing Revolution (1807-Present)
Throughout the 1800s and still today, Americans have struggled to balance their ideals of liberty with the practical need for governmental authority, and to work on extending rights to new groups of Americans. The expansion of slavery in the United States during the 1800s further tested the nation’s commitment to liberty and equality. Struggles over civil rights continue to challenge the United States. The American Revolution is unfinished, yet enduring. Generations of Americans have worked to advance the ideals of liberty, equality, and self-government. Artifact highlights include a bust of George Washington, a parade banner honoring the Marquis de Lafayette, a ribbon commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Continental Army veteran Joseph Plumb Martin’s memoir, William B. T. Trego’s “March to Valley Forge” painting, and a World War II recruitment poster that references the Revolutionary War.
Launching later this year, the Timeline will feature downloadable lessons and activities that reinforce history curricula for use in classrooms. The Timeline incorporates feedback from teachers across the nation, who have and continue to provide feedback.
The Timeline is a redesign and relaunch of a multimedia timeline that the Museum originally introduced in 2009 – well before the Museum opened – to showcase our collection and provide a useful tool for educators. There was tremendous interest in it from around the world before it became inaccessible due to changing technology.
“We are always looking for new ways to use our collection to tell rich and nuanced stories about the people, ideas, and events of the American Revolution,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, Museum President and CEO. “The original version of this timeline was beloved by educators and students, and was downloaded more than half a million times. This new and improved version, with even more content, is an engaging and accessible portal to explore the history and ongoing legacy of our nation’s founding.”
The Timeline is available on the Museum’s website, AmRevMuseum.org, which was named a Webby Award honoree in 2021. Other digital resources available on the website include virtual tours of the Museum’s core galleries and General George Washington’s field headquarters; interactive features like Finding Freedom and Season of Independence; and online exhibits such as When Women Lost the Vote, Cost of Revolution, and Among His Troops.
The Timeline of the American Revolution was made possible in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Additional support provided by VisitPA.com, the Achelis & Bodman Foundation, and the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov/ and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.