With its opening day on Wednesday approaching faster than a cannonball, and more than 30,000 timed tickets sold so far, the Museum of the American Revolution is putting the finishing touches on its exhibits, restocking its already-bustling gift shop, and triple-checking its opening day lineup of events and speakers.
The last artifacts, a pair of Torah finials (rimonim) on loan from Congregation Mikveh Israel and currently in use during Passover, will not be installed until the last moment on Tuesday, the night before the opening. But installed they will be.
Some tickets remain available for the museum's opening days. Only 150 visitors are allowed in every 20 minutes to the $120 million redbrick museum, the city's newest, at Third and Chestnut Streets.
Such has been demand to visit this elaborate presentation of nearly 500 Revolutionary War-era artifacts set in a lively narrative environment of videos, digital interactives, and life-size diorama-like tableaux that the museum has extended hours during its early days.
On opening day, it will remain open until 8 p.m; hours on opening weekend, next Thursday to April 23, will be 9:30 to 6.
Grand opening festivities begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Washington Square, the morning of the 242nd anniversary of the “shot heard round the world,” with a tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution. An American Indian blessing, a performance by the choir of the African American Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, and the placing of a wreath will take place at the tomb.
The ceremony then proceeds to the area in front of Independence Hall, where Gov. Wolf and Independence National Historical Park superintendent Cynthia MacLeod will deliver remarks. They will be followed by a Revolutionary War tactical demonstration and a musical performance. More than 250 local students from St. Mary’s Interparochial School will also create a “living flag” featuring George Washington’s Standard, a flag now in the museum’s collection.
The procession then heads down Chestnut for the 10:30 a.m. museum ribbon-cutting.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the historian David McCullough, and the political commentator Cokie Roberts will deliver remarks.
Also scheduled to speak are Vincent Brown, professor of American history and African and African American studies at Harvard University; museum board member Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative and Nation Enterprises CEO; Col. John E. Bircher III, representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart; museum chairman emeritus H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest; current chair Gen. John P. Jumper; and museum president and CEO Michael Quinn.
Musical performances at the ribbon-cutting will include those by the Philadelphia Boys Choir and a brass quintet from the Curtis Institute of Music. And Sydney James Harcourt from the original cast of the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton will perform songs from the show, joined by students from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts.