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10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Museum of the American Revolution

10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Museum of the American Revolution

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Whether you’re a history buff or not chances are when you visit Philadelphia, you will make your way to the Museum of the American Revolution. If you’re like us and have a packed Philly itinerary, it’s valuable to know what to expect before you get here so you can make the most of your time and avoid surprises.  

In this blog, I will help you by quickly answering all of the questions you have, what you need to know beforehand, different ways you can visit, and more. This will serve as your one-stop shop on all the things to know about the Museum of the American Revolution. Let’s get right into it!

1. About the Museum of the American Revolution

Daniel looks at a display at museum of the american revolution
Plenty to read here!
Bailey in a historic costume at the museum of the american revolution
Always looking for an excuse to dress up!

Officially opening on April 19th, 2017, the same day the war began in 1775, the Museum of the American Revolution tells the story of the Revolutionary War through exhibits and artifacts.

Rising three stories above the street and covering a total of 118,000 square feet (10,900 square meters), it tells the fascinating history of the war that would come to define everything America would represent. Historians of the Revolutionary War praise the museum for being in-depth and offering an accessible account of information about what happened over the war’s 7-year timespan. There is certainly plenty to learn!

The museum is set up for visitors to follow along chronologically from before the war began with rising tensions with Great Britain to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The museum houses several thousand treasures from that time including artwork, weapons, textiles, and more. 

Not only does it offer visitors the chance to see significant items like George Washington’s war tent, but you can also read first-hand accounts of different people’s opinions and involvement in the war. Notably, a poem written by America’s first published female black poet Phillis Wheatley. I found this to be an incredibly insightful look into the mindsets of people back then.

2. Where is the Museum of the American Revolution?

Bailey looking at a map at museum of the american revolution
Lots of great displays
A wax statue of Joseph Plum Martin at the museum of the american revolution
The sculptures were amazing.

The Museum of the American Revolution is located in Old City Philadelphia just a few blocks away from the Liberty Bell and situated across the street from the First Bank of the United States.

Old City Philadelphia, now a modern neighborhood, is known as the birthplace of American Independence. Even though the world has grown up around it, the city of Philadelphia has done an amazing job preserving its historical significance, and you can see many historic spots on a sightseeing tour or walking tour.

3. How much is entrance to the Museum of the American Revolution?

Ticket booth at museum of the american revolution
Where you get your tickets

The cost for entrance into the museum is $24 USD per person. You can buy tickets in advance directly from the Museum here with an audio tour for an additional $5 USD. The bonus of buying tickets from them on Viator is that the process is quick, easy, and you can get a 100% refund up to 24 hours before your visit if plans change. 

If you want to take your history lesson up a notch, I recommend checking out this Early Access tour of the museum that gets you inside before it opens to the public! It’s only $50 USD and we loved learning from someone knowledgeable and passionate about US history (and getting in before the crowds!).

4. When is the Museum of the American Revolution open? 

Wax statue of man on a horse yelling with a sword at the museum of the american revolution
Look at that detail!

The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm with closures on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Related Read: If a trip to the nation’s capital is also in your plans, be sure to read our guide to all the best things to do in Washington, DC.

5. When is the best time to visit the Museum of the American Revolution?

Bailey walking up the stairs at museum of the american revolution
Always less crowded in the morning

I recommend visiting the museum in the morning so you have plenty of time afterward to see other historical sights nearby. It’s also less busy in the morning, and no one likes a crowded museum. Plus, if you go early, you’ll have time to work up an appetite for a Philly cheesesteak later in the day!

As for the time of year, the museum is busier during the summer, but that means walking around Old City after is more pleasant. During the low season in the winter, it is less crowded, but the weather is much, much colder. 

6. What are the best tours of the Museum of the American Revolution? 

A display showing off muskets at the museum of the american revolution
So many informative exhibits
Wax statue off woman at the museum of the american revolution
We learned a lot

When we visited the Museum of the American Revolution, we took this 1-hour guided tour officially offered by the museum, and it was fantastic. The level of knowledge the guide has goes far beyond information placards, and sometimes it’s nicer to have someone tell you about the history rather than stand and read for hours. It wasn’t a snooze-fest either – our guide was entertaining and a blast to be around!

What’s even better is that this tour starts before the museum opens, so you can get in before all the crowds show up. Like I said earlier, no one likes a crowded museum! You are also free to keep exploring the museum for as long as you want afterward. This small group tour is offered Thursday through Sunday and is $50 USD.

7. How long do you need at the Museum of the American Revolution?

Lots of muskets on display at the museum of the american revolution
So cool!

If you like to read and you’re a history buff, I would expect to spend 3 hours here. If you enjoy history and want to see the highlights without reading everything, you will probably be good to go after about 1.5 hours. There is a convenient on-site cafe if you need to grab a coffee and take a break before you continue to see everything the museum has to offer.

Since we took the guided tour of the museum, we learned a lot in a short amount of time. Still, we spent an hour and a half afterward reading even more of the history and taking time to see different exhibits. 

8. Is the Museum of the American Revolution suitable for children?

Wax statue of injured soldier at the museum of the american revolution
I wouldn’t want to be that guy.

This museum is family-friendly, and we saw many children having a great time. It is set up to be accessible for all ages, and there are plenty of fun exhibits kids will find interesting. Of course, it is a war museum, so if you have a young one who is sensitive to those sorts of things keep that in mind. There is nothing graphic in nature, but there are exhibits that talk about the violence of the war. 

Related Read: If you’re traveling with kids, we’ve got some suggestions for family-friendly ghost tours and other night tours in Philadelphia.

9. Is the Museum of the American Revolution wheelchair-friendly? 

Bailey outside of museum of the american revolution
Such a good time!

The museum is wheelchair-friendly with ramps and elevators conveniently placed all over the building so each of its public spaces is accessible. They even offer wheelchairs free of charge on a first-come first-serve basis. If this is something you need, be sure to arrive early.

10. Is the Museum of the American Revolution worth it? 

Wax statues at the museum of the american revolution
There is so much history we didn’t know about.

The Museum of the American Revolution is captivating and absolutely worth a visit during your time in Philadelphia. Even as someone who isn’t an American, I found it to be informative and offer invaluable insight into the United States and its origins. If you are a history buff or just want to learn more about how America came to be through this conflict, there is no better place to do it!

Between the numerous historical artifacts, first-hand accounts from people during the war, well-thought-out exhibits, and excellent tours, this museum is well worth your time. 

Other Activities to do While You’re in Philadelphia

Bailey looks out the window of City Hall Tower in Philadelphia
Enjoying the view from the City Hall Tower
Two cocktails at Sassafras in Philadelphia, USA
Two cocktails at Sassafras in Philadelphia

The Museum of the American Revolution is great, but it’s not the only thing you should do in the City of Brotherly Love! There are plenty of fun activities in Philadelphia. So, if you’re looking to fill that itinerary, check out some of my favorite options below.

  • Go for cocktails – Philly is home to awesome cocktail bars like the Ranstead Room, which is a candlelit speakeasy serving craft cocktails. Andra Hem is a Swedish-style cocktail bar with super unique ingredients, and South 2nd Street is good for bar hopping (head to Sassafras!). Or, join this small group cocktail tour which takes you to 4-5 bars that you’d probably never find by yourself.
  • See Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens – Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is, indeed, magical! This open-air gallery on South Street is known for its mosaics, which remind me a bit of Gaudi. It’s a great example of local art and the perfect destination to snap Instagram-worthy photos. You can also book this art tour that visits the Magic Gardens along with the city’s top murals.
  • Ride on a hop-on, hop-off bus – To see all the city’s top sights, check out this hop-on, hop-off bus. It has a super comprehensive route and takes you to a ton of places, including Reading Terminal Market, City Hall, Rittenhouse Square, Love Park, Chinatown, and tons more! You get guided commentary, but can still explore at your own pace.
  • Go up the City Hall Tower – Not everyone knows you can go up to the very top of the City Hall Tower, where you’ll get epic 360-degree views! You do need to book this tour well in advance as there are only a few spaces available per day. It only costs $15 USD per person and lasts for about 30 minutes, so it’s easy to fit into a busy sightseeing itinerary. 

Where to Stay in Philadelphia, USA

Element Philadelphia Downtown room with a view
Photo credit: Element Philadelphia Downtown

Philadelphia is a big city, and deciding where to stay can be overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down to our top choices for each budget range. So keep reading to find the best accommodations for you!

The Rittenhouse Hotel – $$$

The Rittenhouse Hotel is a centrally located, award-winning accommodation. It has that old-school Philadelphia feel with modern amenities. They offer a gym, an indoor heated pool, a sun terrace, and a fabulous restaurant. You can also enjoy British tea and cocktails in their tea room, which is connected to a gorgeous garden.

Prices range from $350 – $1,000 USD depending on the type of room and your dates. You can check prices and availability online here.

Element Philadelphia Downtown – $$

The Element Philadelphia Downtown is just a block from City Hall. It has a fitness center, an on-site restaurant, a shared lounge, and free bikes. The place has modern, well-equipped rooms, friendly staff, and a decent continental breakfast. Request a room higher up for an awesome city view.

This place is a great value for money, with prices starting as low as $160 USD when you book in advance.

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia – $

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia is my favorite budget accommodation in Philadelphia. It’s located in the Old City. This hostel has it all, including a shared kitchen, laundry, pool table, foosball, Xbox, computers/iPads, guitars, and a TV area. You won’t have any trouble socializing, and they even offer free drinks and dinner sometimes. It’s clean, comfortable, and has a great vibe.

Shared rooms start at $34 USD, and private rooms begin at $85 USD. You can book your stay on or through Hostelworld.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel smile for a selfie at the museum of the american revolution
Thanks for reading!

We hope that our guide to the Museum of the American Revolution has helped you know what to expect before you visit. We had a fantastic time learning about the history of the United States and its origins!

If this blog was useful to you, be sure to read more of our guides to cities in the United States. You can click on one of the related blogs below to get started.

30 BEST Free and Cheap Things to do in Philadelphia

10 BEST Sightseeing Tours in New York City

The BEST 3 Days in Washington, DC: A 3-Day Itinerary