This past weekend I had the privilege of attending a founding-members only preview grand opening of the new Museum. I left with a renewed sense of awe that, despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles and odds stacked against the American colonists in taking on the most powerful and wealthiest empire in the world, and the sheer luck - and unlikely alliances - that emerged to help us prevail, We the People somehow accomplished something unbelievable and unheard of – a republic form of government in which the people rule themselves.
The path that the MOAR took to arrive at its new home at Third and Walnut in Philadelphia, and the length of time it took to accomplish it, lasted for more years than the actual revolution itself, and similarly, was no small feat against many obstacles over a long span of time. The gorgeous facility is a testament to the tenacity and dedication of its champions in finding a home for it, getting it built, and finally, at long last, dramatically displaying the artifacts and paying appropriate tribute to the War for Independence.
In 2005, however, the ARC announced plans for its own museum and conference center two miles away. Philanthroper (and new chairman of the museum’s board of directors) H.F.”Gerry” Lenfest was brought in to try to move the project forward. He personally ponied up the $4.1M to purchase 78 acres of privately owned land adjacent to the VFNHP from the St. Gabe’s protectorate (Archdiocese of Philadelphia) in Lower Providence Township the day after the LPT Planning Commission approved the ARC’s request to rezone the parcel to allowed development beyond a museum.
|toppling a statue of King George III|
|Gerry Lenfest at 4-19-17 ribbon cutting|