Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yorktown Victory Center to Get a New Name

The Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation approved a new name for the Yorktown Victory Center. Visitors to the Yorktown battle site will soon experience the "American Revolution Museum at Yorktown." The new name will go into effect upon completion of the physical transformation that Yorktown's museum and center are now undergoing.

According to a press release issued by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, construction will begin in the second half of 2012 and will entail "an 80,000-square-foot structure that will encompass expanded exhibition galleries, classrooms and support functions, and reorganization of the 22-acre site, located at Route 1020 and the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown." The total cost is estimated at $46 million and will be funded primarily by sale of Virginia Public Building Authority bonds. Private donations will fund gallery and outdoor exhibits.

“The new name highlights the core offering of the museum, American Revolution history,” said Frank B. Atkinson, who chaired the naming study task force comprised of 11 members of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., boards, “and the inclusion of the word ‘Yorktown’ provides a geographical anchor.  We arrived at this choice through a methodical process that began with compiling an extensive list of potential names, engaging our Museums and Programs Advisory Council and Foundation staff.  Key elements to include in the name were identified, and research was undertaken on names currently in use.  Selected names were tested with Yorktown Victory Center visitors and reviewed by a trademark attorney and branding consultant.”

“This name ideally reflects what we aim to achieve with the new museum,” said Foundation Chairman H. Benson Dendy III.  “The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will provide a renewed perspective on the meaning and impact of the Revolution and will have a nationally important role, along with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Park Service and other Historic Triangle partners, in interpreting events that transformed 13 British colonies into the United States of America.”

As the official press release noted, the Yorktown Victory Center has enjoyed "36 years of continuous operation" in which it has hosted "5.3 million visitors and has served more than 900,000 students with curriculum-based structured educational programs." In the early 1990s, the focus of the museum broadened to include the entire period, not just the events leading to Lord Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown.

The Yorktown Victory Center will remain in operation during construction.  The existing buildings will be demolished after the new building is complete, and new permanent gallery exhibits will be fabricated and installed after the new building is in use.  Upon completion of the entire project, with the new exhibition galleries ready for visitors, “American Revolution Museum at Yorktown” will be the museum’s name.