An American Revolution Museum Grows … in Philly?

(Rendering of the Museum of the American Revolution, released last month / NC3D)


Plans for a sparkling 100,000-plus square foot museum telling the story of and housing artifacts from the American Revolution are well underway. But it won’t be in Lexington or Concord, or near Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill. No, the $150 million Museum of the American Revolution is slated to open in 2015 in Philadelphia — “steps from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, in the most historic part of the country’s most historically significant city,” according to the press release.

The City of Brotherly Love certainly played a big role in the founding of our country. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were ratified there, and it was the nation’s capital when Washington, D.C., was under construction. George Washington and his Continental Army spent the brutal winter of 1777-8 in nearby Valley Forge. (And don’t forget when Rocky ran up the steps of the Philly Museum of Art in an impressive display of homegrown strength and stamina.)

Not to quibble, but doesn’t it seem like a museum dedicated to all things American Revolution might consider laying a foundation where it all began — especially since one of the most touted artifacts in its impressive collection is a gun used by the minuteman commander who faced the British on the North Bridge in Concord?

Insult to injury: In an editorial in yesterday’s Globe, we learned that while the Philly museum just announced a $40 million challenge grant from its chairman and media mogul H.F. Lenfest, not a single local philanthropist has stepped up to aid our own fledgling Boston Museum.

The 100,000-square-foot, glass- and brick-wrapped Boston Museum, if you don’t know, is one of the proposals on the table for a state-owned parcel of land on the Greenway, along the Freedom Trail. The center would celebrate our city and region’s history in the areas of innovation, sports, politics, people, and growth.

There’s a chart on the Boston Museum’s website that lists all the cities — like New York, Philly, Denver, Atlanta, and San Francisco — that have recently built or are planning to build new history museums. One of Boston’s main tourist draws is its indispensable spot in the story of our country, so it follows that we should nurture and promote this valuable selling point. Duck Boats just won’t cut it.