PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dr Scott Stephenson, the Vice-President of Collections, Exhibitions and Programming at the Museum of the American Revolution, discussed their opening, which coincides with the opening shots of the war in 1775.
He tells Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that Philadelphia really was the center of all the action.
“When the shots rang out on this day, 242 years ago, there were a lot of people that said, well, maybe those New Englanders have pushed things a little too far with the British there. So, they’ve got a great claim to getting the fighting started. But, of course, Philadelphia is the place where all the delegates came. This was the headquarters of the revolution. It was a place that was captured by the British in 1777. They knew that this was a center. This is, essentially, the capitol of the fledgling republic. Every army, whether it’s British, French, American, marched down Chestnut Street, past what’s now the front door of the museum. It was absolutely critical. So, while cities like Williamsburg, New York, Boston and claim parts of that story, all the threads of the story run through this neighborhood that we’re in here in Old City, Philadelphia.”
Stephenson says Philadelphia was not only the birth of new country, but of a new governmental and economic design that endures to this today.
“All those wonderful things that we love about Philadelphia, of course, I would argue were enabled by the forces that were released by the American Revolution that put power in the hands of the people, created a form of government, this experiment in self government that we’re still living in. We’re still living in the American revolution, as those ideas shape the lives of millions of people around the world.”
He believes that this museum fills in the gap of historic sites in the city, tying together all of its history and that of the revolution in one place that people can visit to get a better understanding about the founding of our nation.
“What was missing was a, kind of, visitor’s center for the American Revolution. Imagine you had all of these jewels laying on a table, which are places like Christ Church and the Liberty Bell and the Powell House, sights large and small, but they weren’t assembled together in a narrative, like a beautiful setting to make it into a piece of jewelry. Now what we have is a museum that lays that narrative out, under one roof. It’s the perfect starting place for exploring this history.”