Mount Vernon’s New Theater Gives You a Front Row Seat to the Revolution

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Mount Vernon / Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon’s Revolutionary War Theater just reopened after a $2 million renovation, and it’s ready to give you the immersive history experience you never knew you needed. As part of the renovation, the George Washington-centric museum has created a new 17-minute film that shows off the best the new Revolutionary War Theater has to offer as it dives into some of the pivotal battles of the American Revolution.

The film explores three of Washington’s major campaigns: Boston, Trenton, and Yorktown, placing guests within the ranks of the Revolutionary forces to give a more personal view of just how terrible conditions were. The 4D effects bring the weather inside the theater, immersing viewers in fog and falling snow as well as creating dramatic lighting. The seats vibrate and rumble as if shaking from cannon fire, and shells appear to fly overhead. The movie “will make you feel like you are standing right with Washington,” the Mount Vernon website trumpets.

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It all sounds a little Disney-fied, but the estate has worked to make it as historically accurate as possible, so at least you’re learning plenty while you’re rumbling along in your seat. The feature includes appearances from Martha Washington and her husband’s enslaved valet, William Lee, along with more than 100 other reenactors who filmed the live-action sequences across Virginia.

If you can’t make it to a battle reenactment, Mount Vernon’s daily shows might be your best bet.