Museum of the American Revolution to Open Interactive Exhibit

FamilySearch partnership allows kids to discover past

News Release

A new exhibit for families opens to the public at the Museum of the American Revolution in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Creative teams from the museum and FamilySearch, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have been working for more than four years to develop the new family-friendly discovery center called Revolution Place. 

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“This space is an interactive space where children can connect to the stories of the Revolution at a personal level, not the broader macro history,” said Diane Loosle, senior vice president at FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world.

“But a lot of people, when they hear ‘family’ they think just kids,” explained Mark Turdo, the museum’s curator. “We intentionally meant families. So there are things here for both kids and adults.”

Turdo said the experience includes interactive computers and props representing the 18th century, such as period clothing, tea ware and reproduction hymnals. “They do spend time almost equally with digital interactive and physical, hands‑on interactives. … I think kids could spend several hours down here.”

The exhibit also includes areas depicting an encampment, a market, a parlor, a church and a tavern. “And in the tavern, you can read reproduction newspapers of the day, which, as I mentioned, some kids have already made the connection, that's the internet of the day,” he said.

“My favorite part of this is when you get to enlist in the army,” said 10-year-old Nate Kegan from Portland, Oregon, who visited the museum this week with his family. “It's super informational and fun at the same time.”

Kegan’s 8-year-old sister, Nina, enjoyed dressing up. “I like it because I like to know how they dressed up back then, and it's fun knowing how they felt and how they did things.”

Mother Jodi Demunter found the museum interesting for her entire family, including her three children. “It's really great to come into a museum and have places where the kids can be a little bit like kids and not have to worry about touching the wrong things or being in the wrong spaces.”

“We feel like when a person can interact in a historical context with history, that it helps it to come alive, and that helps us to connect in a deeper way to our own past and develop some curiosity and a desire for us to discover more about who we are, where we came from, and what our family story is in the mix of the broader historical context,” said Loosle.

She continued, “We help people understand the power of their individual family stories and the strength and the sacrifice and the different things that they have gone through as a family, and that helps strengthen us as individuals and to create a better future.”

“We're here to help the community in so many ways,” said Elder Milan F. Kunz, an Area Seventy in Philadelphia. “This is a wonderful way to help promote the idea that we're all one big part of God's family.”

Elder Kunz said it was important for the Church to support the museum that opened in April 2017 because it helps tell the American story. “A prerequisite of the Restoration of the gospel was the establishment of this free country, and this whole museum is dedicated to creating that, the country, and religious freedom that came along with it.”

The museum, located just a few minutes away from the Church’s temple in downtown Philadelphia and famed Independence Hall, focuses on the American revolutionary era that dates from 1760 to 1783, when the 13 American colonies broke away from the British Empire and formed the United States of America.

   

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