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“Finding Freedom” Explores the Lives and Choices of Five People of African Descent During the Revolutionary War

The Museum of the American Revolution today announced that it has been recognized as part of the 22nd annual Media & Technology MUSE Awards, presented by the Media & Technology Professional Network of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). The Museum received a bronze-level MUSE Award in the category of “Online Experience” for Finding Freedom, an online interactive feature which explores the lives of five people of African descent during the Revolutionary War.

Launched in October 2020, Finding Freedom animates the deeply researched stories of five men and women of African descent in Virginia who followed different paths to seek freedom in 1781. The online interactive is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It is based on the Museum’s in-gallery touchscreen interactive of the same name, created with Philadelphia’s Bluecadet. The Museum worked with digital product agency AREA 17 to translate the touchscreen experience from the Museum’s galleries into a web application that could be accessed by students, educators, and other learners anywhere, broadening the Museum’s educational reach. Since launching, Finding Freedom has had more than 326,000 pageviews from around the world.

Through powerful watercolor illustrations by Wood Ronsaville Harlan, Inc. and dramatized first-person narratives, the online interactive encourages users to consider the difficult choices that enslaved and free people of African descent had to make when there was no clear route to freedom during the Revolutionary War. The narratives were created using primary sources ranging from pension records to newspaper ads, period maps and broadsides, surviving objects, works of art, court records, and correspondence.

“What an honor it is to be recognized by AAM for this incredible storytelling tool that has already impacted students, educators, and digital explorers across the globe,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, Museum President and CEO. “At the Museum, we are committed to lifting up the stories of people who have traditionally been left out of the nation’s founding narrative. Innovative digital initiatives like Finding Freedom are an important way that we bring those unique and powerful stories to life.”

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The online experience includes teacher resources that include modular activities, ready-made worksheets, “Big Idea” essays, timelines, glossaries, and primary sources. One of the goals for Finding Freedom is to help to equip teachers to have challenging conversations, particularly about race and slavery, in their classrooms and to have those discussions with nuance and sensitivity. The Museum also offers free professional development workshops for educators that delve deeper into Finding Freedom to prepare teachers to use it in their classrooms.

Finding Freedom is part of the Museum’s recently redesigned website, amrevmuseum.org, which was named a Webby Honoree in the category of Best Websites and Mobile Sites for Cultural Institutions earlier this year.

MUSE awards recognize outstanding achievement in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) media. The Media & Technology Professional Network’s annual awards are presented to institutions that enhance the GLAM experience and engage audiences with useful and innovative digital programs and services. The MUSE awards celebrate scholarship, community, innovation, creativity, education, accessibility, and inclusiveness.

Finding Freedom is made possible with generous support from The Albert M. Greenfield Foundation.

About the Media & Technology Professional Network
The Media & Technology (M&T) Professional Network of the American Alliance of Museums represents museum professionals and others who use technology to serve the field in a broad array of areas, such as the production of media resources for interpretation; defining standards; building databases; and creation, maintenance, and support of growing technologies that museums use to further their missions.

About the American Alliance of Museums 
The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

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.