Witness the Birth of America: On October 19, 1781, the decisive military campaign of the American Revolution culminated with the British surrender to combined American and French forces under the command of George Washington. The Siege of Yorktown effectively ended the six-year struggle for American Independence and set the stage for a new government – and nation.

Now you can step into the boots of ordinary soldiers – and witness the Revolution’s end from their perspective. Located within musket range of the battlefield, the Yorktown Victory Center re-creates a Continental Army encampment, complete with sleeping quarters, supply tents, cooking fires and more. You can try on a military coat and hat, and then participate in wooden-musket drills. Step into the quartermaster’s tent to discover the importance of managing supplies. You may even be recruited to join the cannon crew as they load and fire this replica weapon.

Gallery exhibits present the Declaration of Independence as a radical document that inspired decisive action and chronicle the Revolution through eyewitness accounts of those who were there. In the Converging on Yorktown Gallery, explore the three-week siege that ensured American independence. Finally learn about the final steps in America’s journey to nationhood with the development of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the impact of people from many different cultures on the creation of a new society.

The Yorktown Victory Center also provides a glimpse at home life after the Revolution on a typical Tidewater Virginia farm. You can explore a re-created house and its separate kitchen, a tobacco barn, and fenced crop fields. While you’re there, you can weed and water gardens, comb cotton or “break” flax into fiber, and learn how herbs were used for cooking and medicinal purposes. The pungent odor of drying tobacco fills the farm barn.