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WILLIAMSBURG, Va., December 14, 2012 – The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation of Richmond has pledged a $250,000 challenge grant in support of gallery exhibits at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, planned to open by late 2016. Work is under way on the new museum, which will replace the Yorktown Victory Center.

The Parsons Foundation will match 50 percent of up to $500,000 in gifts from individuals and private foundations made through November 2013 for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown galleries.
“The grant comes at a crucial time for the new museum,” said Philip G. Emerson, executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Virginia state agency that operates Yorktown Victory Center and Jamestown Settlement history museums.  “The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation’s commitment to this project helps us move forward with critical elements of gallery planning.”

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown project includes an 80,000-square-foot structure that will encompass expanded exhibition galleries, classrooms and support functions, and reorganization of the 22-acre site.  Designed to encourage discussion and critical thinking, the new galleries will feature immersive learning environments, interactive exhibits and period artifacts.  The galleries will segue into the museum’s two outdoor living-history areas, a re-created Continental Army encampment and Revolution-period farm.  

“This challenge grant helps provide important momentum to raise the dollars we need to create a museum that instills in current and future generations an appreciation of the people, places and principles that forged our nation,” said Sue H. Gerdelman, president of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., which coordinates private fundraising in support of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation programs.   
While planning and construction of the new Yorktown museum has been funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, gifts and grants from individuals, corporations and foundations are providing support for elements of the galleries and outdoor exhibits – such as acquisition of artifacts for exhibit, production of films, and reproduction items – and educational resources.

“We are confident that this challenge grant will not only help make the galleries of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown rich and full for children and families to enjoy, but will also raise awareness of the importance of private funding in realizing the full potential of the new museum,” said Amy P. Nisenson, executive director of the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation.

Previous challenge grants from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation provided momentum for construction of a farmhouse at the Yorktown Victory Center in the 1990s and for new re-creations of the Jamestown Settlement ships Godspeed and Discovery in time for the Jamestown quadricentennial in 2007.  Founded in 1988 by Mrs. Mary Morton Parsons, the foundation gives financial support principally for capital projects at not-for-profit organizations in Virginia.

Located at Route 1020 and the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown, the Yorktown Victory Center will continue in operation as a museum of the American Revolution throughout construction and will become the “American Revolution Museum at Yorktown” when the project is complete.

For information about giving opportunities in support of the new museum, visit hif.ciniva.net or call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4139.