On the western edge of Yorktown Battlefield, the Yorktown Victory Center has wonderful exhibits and demonstrations that bring to life the American Revolution. Textual and graphic displays along the open-air Road to Revolution walkway cover the principal events and personalities. A renovated Declaration of Independence entrance gallery and long-term exhibition, The Legacy of Yorktown: Virginia Beckons, debuted in 2006. Life-size tableaux show 10 "witnesses," including an African-American patriot, a loyalist, a Native American leader, two Continental Army soldiers, and the wife of a Virginia plantation owner. The "witnesses" testimony is very dramatic and makes the American Revolution real for children. This presentation brings the personal trials of the colonists to life more effectively than the artifacts of the war.
The exhibit galleries contain more than 500 period artifacts, including many recovered during underwater excavations of "Yorktown's Sunken Fleet" (British
ships lost during the siege of 1781). Outdoors, visitors may participate in a Continental Army drill at an encampment with interpreters costumed as soldiers and female auxiliaries, who reenact and discuss daily camp life. In another outdoor area, a re-created 1780s farm includes a dwelling, kitchen, tobacco barn, crop fields, and kitchen garden, which show how many Americans lived in the decade following the end of the Revolution.