Yorktown, Virginia, occupies a unique place in American history as the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, administered by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, depicts the drama and hopes of the revolution through period artifacts, immersive environments and interactive exhibits and theaters, including the experiential Siege Theater.
The new museum engages visitors in the tumult and excitement of the nation’s founding. The 170-seat Introductory Theater shows the 20-minute film, “Liberty Fever,” which features accounts of the American Revolution told by a 19th century storyteller. It sets the stage for the permanent exhibition galleries devoted to five themes: The British Empire and America; The Changing Relationship of Britain and North America; Revolution, from Lexington and Concord to Yorktown; The New Nation and its challenges; and The American People and the emergence of a national identity.
The galleries culminate in the 4D experiential [4D implies visitors need to wear glasses] Siege Theater where approximately 40 70 visitors at a time are transported to the Siege of Yorktown complete with wind, smoke, lightning and thunderous cannon fire. The theater’s 180-degree surround screen immerses visitors in the thrill of the rebels’ defeat of allied American and French victory over the British Army commanded by General Cornwallis.
The Virginia Beach branch of the Richmond, Virginia-based company Whitlock served as systems integrator for the museum. The video collaboration company offers strategy, enterprise management, interactive environments, cloud and global support to a wide range of clients in energy, finance, government, legal, healthcare, high tech and education.
Whitlock chose an Alcorn McBride A/V Binloop HD multi-channel video and audio player to run the nine-minute presentation in the Siege Theater. Five channels of the system feed five edge-blended laser projectors dedicated to the 71-foot curved screen. Cortina Productions designed and produced the content.
“The client wanted to play back high quality video and did not want a PC-based system that required software maintenance, so the solid-state A/V Binloop HD filled the bill,” says Whitlock system designer Phil Raymond. “The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, which runs the museum, has used Alcorn McBride equipment in other properties and suggested we consider the A/V Binloop HD for their new museum. It has proved to be a very stable system and a rock-solid choice for the Siege Theater.”
In addition, Whitlock installed an A/V Binloop with audio cards to provide 23 channels of audio for the Siege Theater. “We are using a server with Dante Network Audio to manage channel allocation from the Dante card option in the A/V Binloop,” Raymond explains. “There are 13 loudspeakers with program audio, four subwoofers and butt kickers in the seating.”
A second Alcorn McBride A/V Binloop HD feeds a number of other rooms in the museum, including the Introductory Theater and its “Liberty Fever” presentation.
“Our relationship with Alcorn McBride extends to all of the museum work we’ve done,” notes Raymond. “Clients understand the value of Alcorn McBride equipment, too. The gear we installed in 2004 for at the Jamestown Settlement history museum is still running, and the Foundation has been very happy with it.”
Although the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown gallery exhibits are already open to visitors, it the museum will hold its Grand Opening Celebration and Dedication Ceremony this spring, marking the completion of its outdoor interpretive areas.
About Alcorn McBride:
Founded in 1986, Alcorn McBride is the leading manufacturer of show control, audio and video equipment for the themed entertainment industry, and a rapidly growing provider of audio and video systems for retail environments and transportation applications. Staffed by some of the industry’s best engineers and backed by outstanding customer support, the company has demonstrated great agility in bringing new designs to market. A hallmark of Alcorn McBride products is their durable, zero maintenance design. The company’s products provide consistent, reliable operation for audio and video playback applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.alcorn.com.