Jamestown on FacebookJamestown on Facebook Jamestown on PinterestJamestown on Pinterest Jamestown on YoutubeJamestown on Youtube Jamestown on InstagramJamestown on Instagram Jamestown on TwitterJamestown on Twitter
Buy Tickets

‘Blast From the Past: Artillery in the War of Independence’ Special Exhibition Opening June 10 at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

YORKTOWN, Va., May 23, 2018 — As the last great victory of the American Revolution, the 1781 Siege of Yorktown is known for the use of artillery by General George Washington’s Continental Army. Through interactive experiences and artifact displays, the “Blast from the Past: Artillery in the War of Independence” special exhibition will feature artillery used on all fronts of the American Revolution by the American, French and British forces.

From June 10, 2018, through January 5, 2019, the special exhibition will explore a range of topics from innovations in artillery design and technology to the individual roles of an artillery crew. Topics will examine artillery deployment and transport, as well as the range of fire and science behind these powerful weapons.

“Blast from the Past: Artillery in the War of Independence” will highlight the chronology of these weapons and reveal the technology and innovation that delivered the last great victory of the Revolution – a victory that forever made Yorktown, Virginia, the place where the subjects of a king became the citizens of a nation.

American, French and British artillery pieces featured in the six-month special exhibition include:

-British Light 3-pounder bronze field cannon, cast by Jan and Pieter Verbruggen, circa 1776, on loan from the U.S. Army Center of Military History

-“La Perileuse” French 4-pounder bronze field cannon, cast by Jean Bérenger at  Strasbourg, circa 1758, on loan from the National Park Service Springfield Armory National Historic Site

-British 12-pounder bronze “Lafayette” cannon, cast by William Bowen, circa 1759, on loan from the National Park Service, Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown Collection

-American 6-pounder iron cannon, cast by Samuel and Daniel Hughes, circa 1775-1783, on loan from the Mayor and Council of Boonsboro, Maryland

-“La Bellone” French 4-pounder bronze battalion cannon, cast by D.E. Dupont at Rochefort, circa 1773, on loan from the National Park Service, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historical Site

Visitors take in the size and scope of American, French and British artillery featured in the special exhibition and then explore the museum for a range of hands-on experiences.


-Discover types of artillery – cannons, mortars and howitzers – and types of ammunition – from shot and shell to canister and grape.

-Figure out the right artillery tool for the job – types of shot and essential implements of rammer, sponge and linstock – in a hands-on display.

-How does one move a gun? Lift a door to determine the strength by men and horses to advance a light or heavy gun.

-Examine an artilleryman’s pocket guide. See interactive 18th-century artillery field manuals that served as reference to determine tasks such as how to draw a 6-pounder up a steep cliff or bluff.


-Enlist as a member of a Continental Army artillery crew each day in artillery amphitheater. After the drill, cover your ears and make ready for soldiers to fire the gun!

-In the laboratory tent at the Continental Army encampment, help manufacture cartridges and learn the science and math used to load, aim and fire an artillery piece.

-Just beyond the large 24-pounder French siege gun in the gallery, see the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential film to experience the decisive 1781 Revolutionary War battle with wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire.


A series of programs, demonstrations and musical performances highlighting the role artillery played during the Siege of Yorktown and the American Revolution will accompany the special exhibition from June through December. The special exhibition opens June 9 and 10 with “Artillery Through the Ages, which will examine the evolution of artillery and its important role during military engagements. On October 20 and 21, in conjunction with the annual Yorktown Victory Celebration event, visitors can enjoy “A Weekend of Revolutionary Noise” with re-enactor encampments. On October 21, the weekend event will conclude with an evening performance of “Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, as well as other compositions, by the College of William and Mary Symphony Orchestra.


The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (until 6 p.m. June 15-August 15), tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Comprehensive indoor exhibits and outdoor living history capture the transformational nature and epic scale of the Revolution and its relevance today. The museum is located at 200 Water Street, in Yorktown, Virginia. Parking is free.

2018 admission is $15.00 for adults, $7.50 for ages 6 through 12, and free for children under 6. A value-priced combination ticket to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and Jamestown Settlement is $25.50 for adults and $12.25 for ages 6-12.  For more information about “Blast from the Past,” call (888) 593-4682 toll-free, (757) 253-4838 or visit https://jyfmuseums.org/artillery/.