those posted on such trees in the build up to the Revolution and period reproduction lanterns made by tinsmiths at Colonial Williamsburg will hang from the branches evoking 1766 Boston.
An actual piece of the Annapolis, Maryland, Liberty Tree is embedded on the display, and passers-by are encouraged to touch it.
The Annapolis tulip poplar was the nation’s last surviving Liberty Tree. It was so damaged by storms and decay it had to be cut down in 1999.
March into battle
The museum’s interactive exhibits let visitors get up close to weapons and involved in a key British victory on the road to capturing Philadelphia.
The Battlefield Theater turns tourists into soldiers for a few intense minutes. Visitors are gathered in groups of 25 and are taught how to muster like a company and march together into the theater, which soon transforms into the Brandywine Battlefield, site of one of the most significant skirmishes of the Philadelphia campaign on Sept. 11, 1777.
Washington’s loss there was a key step in the British capture of Philadelphia. The floor shakes with explosions, the air fills with smoke and the smell of gunpowder and visitors are face to face with the British infantry.
The Arms of Independence section has a vast display of weapons used during the war, and includes a fife and drum. A digital interactive display that filmed each weapon in high-definition video lets visitors virtually handle each weapon — or instrument — and learn more about their uses, owners and makers.
Children of war
A trio of displays highlights the experiences of children during the war.
In a corner of a glass case that could easily be missed are four small toys worth examining. They were excavated from British Revolutionary War campsites around New York City. There’s a small, white stoneware lamb, a tiny pewter goose and a little pewter toy broom and platter.
In a separate glass case hangs a set of tiny wrist shackles likely forged to restrain a child. At the start of the American Revolution, slavery was legal in every colony. That meant all children of enslaved black mothers were also slaves.
Descendants of a Massachusetts soldier donated a newborn’s shoes that were made from a British red coat that was brought back at the end of the war and preserved through generations. Written accounts tell the story of the young man who went off to war in 1775, rose to the position of sergeant in 1783, lost his brother in an attack that ended in a mass grave burial, and returned home to marry and have a child.
About 10 percent of British soldiers who arrived in New York in 1776 had their wives and children with them.
George Washington’s headquarters tent, which served as his office and sleeping quarters throughout much of the war, is on display at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
A section of the North Bridge, the site of a fateful confrontation between colonists and British regulars, is on exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The fragment gives a tangible sense of “the shot heard ’round the world,” which opened the Battle of Lexington Green, and was the first military engagement of the war on April 19, 1775.