American Revolution Center opens up on a new front

This morning on 91FM, WHYY’s Alex Schmidt continued her reporting on the embattled American Revolution Center with a story about the Center’s plans to share a “sample” of their historical holdings.  As Alex reports, the Center is partnering up with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to put several paintings and other artifacts on display in September.

According to ZeeAnn Mason, Senior VP of the Center, the exhibition, though independent of the legal challenge, could help turn public opinion in favor of the project.

“We’re pleased that this exhibition will allow people to take a look at a sample of the real purpose and mission of the American Revolution Center,” said Mason, “which is to portray history in a dynamic and unusual manner.”

You may remember Alex’s past reporting about the controversial museum and hotel complex here, here and here.  In addition, the Philadelphia Inquirer just ran an interview of one of the ARC’s most prominent financial backers, former cable tycoon Gerry Lenfest.  Lenfest acknowledges that the fight over the Center may eventually lead to the end of the project:

During an interview last week at his foundation offices in West Conshohocken, Lenfest emphasized that constructing the museum on the north side of the Schuylkill remains his first, best choice – but that he recognized the development could not continue to endure endless delays.

“How long we’re going to stick around remains to be seen,” he said. If the project drags on indefinitely, “we may well lose the support of the board and abandon it.”

The Center is still embroiled in a battle with historical preservation advocates who claim that its plans for building on a slice of Valley Forge National Historical Park would irreversibly degrade the historical sanctity of the park.

Clearly the future of the Center is still in the air.  If anyone close to the issue or a neighbor of the area in question is reading, feel free to contribute some insight in the comments into the concerns of the Center opponents.  If you have any pictures or video of this part of the park, please contribute links so I can share them in a separate blog post.  You can use the comments for that as well.

Explore posts in the same categories: Historical Preservation Policy

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6 Comments on “American Revolution Center opens up on a new front”

  1. Joe F Says:

    At the opening of this exhibit, will there be a display set up to recount the $25 Million Intimidation Bond that was struck doen in Montgomery County Court. You know the one Lenfest and his buddies tried to slap on the local residents to get them to shut up about this development.

    I hope they can have a section about freedom of speech in their museum exhibit, it was such a quaint 18th century concept.

  2. GardenJeans Says:

    I doubt that ARC will bring the “centerpiece” of their collection – Washington’s tent -since, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, July 6, 2008, the National Park Service and other historians now suspect that the tent was not the one that sheltered Washington during the winter encampment of 1777-78!

  3. Dan Pohlig Says:

    Hi Joe F,
    Can you tell me more about the bond you are referring to or provide a link to any coverage of that part of the story? I’m curious to know what that’s all about.


    Dan P.
    Senior Producer of Web News and Information
    WHYY, Inc.

  4. Steve Palmer Says:

    Here’s an exercise for you Dan, if you’d like to provide some context for these comments… Read back over the comments in your 3 threads on the ARC and do a little summarizing.

    Just going from memory, it seems to me that the land-grabbers have left a number of assertions hanging.

    You’ve got Joe F. with his “Intimidation Bond” up above.
    In the first thread
    – Someone claimed that google’s map was wrong, but failed to provide a better one.
    – Someone else claimed that a land preservation plan dictates land use, but admitted that the plan can’t be found online and that they hadn’t seen it.
    – Rick Brown (I think) claimed promises had been made in front of 47 eye-witnesses, then broken, but gave no witness names. Were there any who were non-activist witnesses? What do the other board members say about that claim?

    You asked Joe F. to document his claim and got 3 weeks of silence in response. I asked several commenters in the first thread to document their assertions, and I don’t think they did.

    If their assertions are true, I would certainly like to know about it.

    Since you are an objective 3rd party, I would be very interested to see your summary.


  5. […] got Joe F. with his “Intimidation Bond” up above. In the first thread – Someone claimed that google’s map was wrong, but failed to provide a […]

  6. Joe Ferraro Says:

    Sorry I hadn’t gotten back to this site. I was sent an email saying I was silent for too long (go figure).

    Here’s a link to the Times Herald, who covered this…

    The Times Herald ( has a link the groups stories about the ARC together.

    As far as the Google Maps – you can’t use their mapping program to set the route that was approved by LPT because is goes across a private bridge. If you can get Google to display the route as submitted, you are better than I.

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