Our rich collection of objects, art, manuscripts, and printed works has been assembled over the past century, beginning with the 1909 purchase of General George Washington's sleeping tent (or marquee) from Mary Custis Lee, Martha Washington's great, great granddaughter. The collection was housed and portions of it were displayed in the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for many years. The collection continues to grow and broaden in
scope, now containing materials that illustrate the struggle for American Independence and commemorate the American Revolution. Selected pieces have been displayed in recent years at George Washington's Mount Vernon, the David Library of the American Revolution, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Constitution Center, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and other historic sites.
Browse the collection
Over the course of a century, the Museum of the American Revolution and its predecessor, the Valley Forge Historical Society, has assembled a rich collection of several thousand objects, works of art, manuscripts, and printed works from the period of the American Revolution. The collection began with the 1909 purchase of General George Washington's marquee (sleeping and office tent, illustrated below) from Martha Washington's great-great-granddaughter, Mary Custis Lee.
Our collection documents the roots, course and consequences of the American War of Independence and the creation of the American Republic. The primary focus is on the years 1750-1800. The collection includes items that reflect the social, economic, religious, political and military aspects of the Revolutionary era, as well as materials documenting the commemoration and memory of the American Revolution.
In addition, the collection reflects the American Revolution's global reach and impact, both during the 18th century and through the ensuing centuries to the present day. The collection continues to grow through donations and acquisitions. Here are some highlights:
Artifacts Owned/Used by General George Washington
In addition to the General's marquee, the collection includes other items that were owned or used by George Washington, including ten original silver camp cups from his military field equipment, wartime correspondence from the War of Independence, and the thirteen-star flag known as the Commander-in-Chief's Standard.
Firearms and Edged Weapons
The extensive collection of historic firearms and edged weapons includes an American fowling piece carried by Captain David Brown, commander of a company of Concord, Massachusetts Minutemen, and a British military musket carried by a soldier of the 4th, or King's Own Regiment, both of whom participated in the first battle of the War of Independence, April 19, 1775.
Our collection includes numerous examples of personal items, equipment and accoutrements used during the War of Independence. Among these items are several important engraved powder horns, including the power horn belonging to Virginia rifleman William Waller.
The art collection includes William B. T. Trego's iconic painting The March to Valley Forge (1883), as well as Philadelphia sculptor William Rush's 1817 terracotta bust of George Washington. Paintings, engravings and posters document the enduring influence of our nation's founding history and principles over the centuries.
Printed Works and Manuscripts
Our collection of printed works and manuscripts includes both an original 1776 Philadelphia imprint of Thomas Paine's Common Sense and the first English edition of the work, issued with an American Loyalist response titled Plain Truth. The collection also includes a rare copy of the July 6, 1776 issue of The Pennsylvania Evening Post, containing the first English language newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence. Important manuscript items include orderly books from regiments in the Continental Army, other military documents including troop returns, muster rolls and descriptive lists, and letters from General George Washington and other officers and soldiers.
If you are interested in supporting our ongoing conservation, preservation and acquisition efforts, please contact Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, Director of Collections and Interpretation, at 877-740-1776.