Yorktown Victory Celebration
Saturday, October 15 Special Event
Salute the 241st anniversary of America’s momentous 1781 Revolutionary War victory
The 241st anniversary of America’s momentous 1781 Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be celebrated Saturday, October 15, at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown with artillery firings, military programs and music. Visitors can experience gallery exhibits, including the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater, and outdoor living-history programs each day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold daily at the expansive history museum through immersive films, exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. On October 15, visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors and take part in interpretive demonstrations.
Outdoor Living History
Visitors to the Continental Army encampment will discover aspects of military life, from enlistment to troop supplies and flintlock muskets to 18th-century medical care. Throughout the day, visitors can take in a “Fortification School,” where an officer of His Majesty’s Corps of Engineers will conduct lessons on of the basics on how to construct, defend and attack a basic field fortification, known as a redoubt.
Artillery demonstrations, showcasing the varied roles of the artillery crew, will take place in the outdoor amphitheater followed by the crew firing a salute in honor of the victory at Yorktown.
Farm visitors can learn about typical life of a Revolution-era farming family, including how families produced homespun clothing during the war as both a necessity and a political statement of patriotism during the war. Special demonstrations will illustrate how to create beautifully colored fabrics using natural dyes and pigments. Visitors can also explore 18th-century meal preparation and preservation.
Films & Exhibits
Daily indoors, visitors can take in the award-winning “Liberty Fever” introductory film and tour immersive exhibition galleries, including a 4D-experiential “Siege of Yorktown” theater that transports visitors to the Yorktown battlefield in 1781, with wind, smoke and the thunder of cannon fire. Actors portray allied Generals Washington and Rochambeau and British General Cornwallis as well as Joseph Plumb Martin, a member of the Continental Army’s Corps of Sappers and Miners who helped build fortifications at Yorktown, and Sarah Osborn, who followed the Continental Army with her husband and served food and coffee to the troops, as well as Alexander Hamilton in his first military role in the Continental Army and his famous words – “Rush On Boys!” – as the militia secures Redoubts 9 and 10.
Commemorative Weekend Activities at Yorktown Battlefield & Historic Yorktown
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, tour roads, 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, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 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. Visitors are also encouraged to follow the park’s Facebook and Instagram for posts and programs related to Yorktown Day. For more information, visit nps.gov/colo.
Wreath-laying ceremonies on Wednesday, October 19, will honor American, French, British and Canadian forces.
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.
For more information about Historic Yorktown events and programs, call (757) 890-5900 or visit visityorktown.org.
About the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, tells 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.
“Yorktown Victory Celebration” event activities are included with museum admission: $18.00 for adults, and $9.00 for ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and under receive complimentary admission. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency. For more information, call (757) 253-4838.
On October 19, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will offer free admission to active duty, reserve and retired military personnel and up to three direct family members with military identification.
Special event activities on October 15 at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are made possible in part by the York County Arts Commission and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc. Annual Fund.