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Yorktown Day Activities at American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

October 16, 2020
All day
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, 200 Water Street
Yorktown, VA 23690 United States

YORKTOWN, Va., September 30, 2020 — The 239th anniversary of America’s decisive Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, with a variety of events and activities at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Yorktown Battlefield and throughout Historic Yorktown.

While the annual Yorktown Day parade and public commemorative ceremonies are cancelled this year in response to COVID-19, an array of programs will salute the momentous allied American-French victory over the British in 1781. Visitors can take the free Yorktown Trolley to various Yorktown attractions between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, following new safety protocols.

On October 19, 1781, following a nine-day bombardment, British forces in Yorktown under General Charles Cornwallis requested a cease-fire and then surrendered more than 8,000 soldiers and sailors to the combined American and French armies commanded by General George Washington. This was the last major military action of the American Revolution, effectively securing independence for the American colonies following a six-and-a-half-year military struggle.

Revolutionary War Programs, Artillery Firings and Immersive Exhibits & Films

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will present a variety of interpretive experiences and artillery firings as part of its annual “Yorktown Victory Celebration” event on Saturday, October 17. Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold at the expansive history museum through immersive films, exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm – all following new safety protocols.

Visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors, take in the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater and view artifacts from the Betsy, one of the British ships scuttled in the York River, on loan from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Outdoors, discover aspects of military life, from enlistment, troop supplies and medical care to flintlock musket and artillery demonstrations, as well as how farming families prepared food over an open hearth, processed plant fibers into cloth and dyed fabric using natural pigments.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and Gift Shop, open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, are located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. The event is included with museum admission: $15.25 for adults, $7.75 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. Event activities are presented in part by the York County Arts Commission. For more information, call (757) 253-4838 or visit historyisfun.org.

Self-Guided Battlefield Tours and Outdoor Ranger Overviews

Colonial National Historical Park at Yorktown Battlefield, site of the climactic 1781 siege, is open for self-guided tours. A free tour app is available at nps.gov/york/yorktown-guide-app.htm. Park Rangers are available to provide information about Yorktown Battlefield and Colonial National Historical Park outside the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, weather permitting. Stop by the Eastern National Park Store in the Visitor Center, Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to purchase items to commemorate your visit to the park. The Visitor Center is located at 1000 Colonial Parkway at the eastern end of the Colonial Parkway, 12 miles from Williamsburg.  For more information, visit nps.gov/colo.

Take the Yorktown Trolley to Enjoy Weekend Events & Outdoor Activities

Throughout the weekend, Historic Yorktown visitors can enjoy several outdoor activities, such as sails aboard the Schooner Alliance at the Riverwalk Landing piers as well as bicycle, paddleboard and kayak rentals and Segway tours from Patriot Tours & Provisions. On Saturday, October 17, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., shop the inaugural First Responders Market, dedicated to all the men and women who work year-round to keep the community safe, a tribute especially fitting during the pandemic. Down the street, the Watermen’s Museum will hold its rescheduled Oyster Roast from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is in addition to their two-day Maritime Heritage Festival with re-enactors, sea shanties, vendors and boat building. Yorktown Ghost Walks will be offering ticketed evening tours that must be booked in advance.

On Main Street, enjoy local art at On the Hill Gallery and the Gallery at York Hall. Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters will have several ticketed historic walking tours October 16-19, including visits to Yorktown Battlefield Surrender Field, exploring everything from the beginning of the Yorktown campaign to the climactic final week of the siege. On Sunday, a “Victory and Alliance French Wine & History Celebration” at Mobjack Bay will include a tasting of French wines while learning about the French alliance and its invaluable contribution to the Revolution. For more information about Historic Yorktown events and programs, call (757) 890-5900 or visit visityorktown.org.

Media Contacts:

Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial National Historical Park
Michael Byrd, (757) 898-2422 or michael_byrd@nps.gov

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation
Tracy Perkins, (757) 253-4114 or tracy.perkins@jyf.virginia.gov

York County Public Affairs
Gail Whittaker, (757) 890-3310 or whittgl@yorkcounty.gov


Williamsburg Yorktown American Revolution Round Table