Visit to the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown (Part 2)

Diana and Karen at Yorktown 9-16-23

Here's Part 2 of my visit to the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown, VA. (You can see Part 1 here.)

I started off Saturday afternoon exploring the indoor parts of the American Revolution Museum. The exhibits cover the Colonial era through the entire Revolutionary War and its aftermath. The museum is very well done, with lots of interesting artifacts and exhibits, some of them interactive. (Please note: I have been fascinated by 18th-century weaponry since I first read the OUTLANDER books, so many of these photos have a military theme, but that's not all they had on display in the museum by any means!) Click on the photos below to enlarge them.

Artifacts from a British soldier in Canada

Here's a collection of items from a British officer's service in Canada during the French and Indian War.

Cannon balls

Cannon balls in various sizes.

Cartridge box

Cartridge box, designed to hold the small paper cartridges filled with gunpowder for a musket or rifle. The use of these cartridges made it unnecessary for soldiers to carry powder horns.

Cooking implements

Here's a collection of metal cooking implements used in the 18th century for cooking over an open hearth. I imagine Mrs. Bug using most of these when she did the cooking at the Big House on Fraser's Ridge. I was startled at the size of that long-handled frying pan, but it certainly would be convenient when cooking for a large family!

Copper still

A copper still. I wonder if Jamie's whisky still looked like this?

Replica of a French siege cannon

Replica of a 24-pound French siege cannon used at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. It's enormous!

They also had a 9-minute "Siege Theater" immersive video, explaining the events surrounding the siege of Yorktown, the battle that followed, and the British surrender in October 1781. I thought it was terrific, and in fact I ended up watching it twice!

Silver shoe buckles

Silver shoe buckles. I can imagine Jocasta Cameron wearing something like these.

Weaponry collection

Here's a collection of different types of weapons. The two long objects at the bottom are part of the equipment used to clean and fire a cannon.

Battle of Kings Mountain

Here's some information about the Battle of Kings Mountain. We didn't learn much about the battle itself in BEES (owing to Jamie's life-and-death emergency, of course) so I thought this was interesting, to fill in the gaps in my knowledge of the historical events. For example, I learned that Major Patrick Ferguson, the leader of the British forces at Kings Mountain, was killed during the battle. (If that detail was included in BEES, I don't recall it.)

Naval cannon

Naval cannon from the Battle of Yorktown. The object at the far right is a type of ammunition called "bar shot".


This display shows the many different types of rifles used during the Revolutionary War.

George Washington statue

Statue of George Washington.

At some point while I was taking these photos, I noticed the battery on my phone starting to go down rather quickly. By the time I was done viewing the exhibits, it was down to 38% and still dropping. Then I realized that I didn't have the phone charger with me. (Oops!)

It was about 1:30 pm, and the museum was starting to get more crowded. I decided to make a quick trip back to my hotel in Williamsburg (about 20 minutes away) to get the charger. I thought there was a good chance that all the handicapped parking spaces would be taken by the time I got back, but I decided to risk it, because I didn't want my phone's battery to die before Diana's event! I raced back to the hotel, grabbed the charger, and came right back. Sure enough, I could see as I approached the front of the building that all the handicapped spaces were now taken. BUT.... Just as I drove up, someone pulled out of a handicapped spot directly in front of the entrance! Serendipity. <g> Very much relieved, I went back inside and found a quiet spot where I could sit for an hour or so and recharge the battery.

Then it was time for the cannon demonstration, which I thought was terrific! I got most of it on video, except for the first five minutes. I thought this presentation was both entertaining and very informative! Not long after it was over, it was time to start lining up for Diana Gabaldon's event.

Diana Gabaldon event at American Revolution Museum

Here's a view of the audience. There were about 400 people there. I had a good time chatting with other fans before the event, including several people I've known for a while online but never met in person until now.

UPDATE 10/2/2023 10:56 am: Here's the video of Diana's talk. Thanks to Marli on TheLitForum for the link!

Diana and Karen at Yorktown 9-16-23

Of course the highlight of the event was getting to spend a few minutes chatting with Diana Gabaldon! It was wonderful to see her again! We've known each other online for more than 15 years, and we interact frequently on, her longtime online hangout, where I've been managing Diana's section of the forum since 2008. (You have to sign up to read or post on the forum, but it's free.) But as I told Diana, in all that time, this was the first opportunity we'd ever had to talk face-to-face for more than two minutes at a time <g>, and I really appreciated her giving me a little extra time.


I asked Diana to sign my copy of the DRUMS OF AUTUMN 25th Anniversary Edition hardcover. The inscription reads, "To Karen, Thanks for 15 years of bumblebee-herding!" (That's Diana's term for what I do on TheLitForum.) Note the very neat, legible signature! I will treasure this, as a wonderful memory of this day. And I got a terrific photo of the two of us! I'm very happy about that.

I left the museum after the event feeling euphoric, absolutely bubbling with excitement and happiness at how well everything had worked out. But my adventure was not yet over!

On Sunday morning I went back to the museum one last time, to take a quick look around the exhibits again. I couldn't resist taking a selfie with the big cannon!

Selfie with cannon

I also spent some time in the gift shop. (I bought a t-shirt and a puzzle.) As I was paying for my purchases, I heard someone call my name. I turned around, and there was a friend I'd been trying to meet up with the day before! We somehow missed each other in the crowd on Saturday, and it was nice to be able to chat with her. (Like I said earlier -- serendipity! <g>)

I left the museum and drove to Colonial Williamsburg, about 20 minutes away, mostly to stop in the Visitor's Center to ask directions. That place is IMMENSE!! I didn't stay long, because the intensely commercial, "touristy" vibe of the place was making me uncomfortable. I made my way to the art museums nearby, and spent a pleasant couple of hours exploring the exhibits in the Decorative Arts Museum and the Folk Art Museum. I was tired, though (I hadn't slept well the night before, probably owing to all the excitement), so I didn't take pictures of the exhibits.

So I was just wandering around, looking at the items on display, and then I heard someone call, "Karen!" It turned out to be none other than Diana Gabaldon, visiting the museum with her sister Theresa, whom I'd never met before. It was fun to chat with them for a few minutes. In all the time I've known Diana, going back to 2007, this was the first time I'd seen her in person when she wasn't in the middle of a public appearance of some kind, and it was sort of refreshing to be able to talk to her in a casual setting like that. Diana's sister was kind enough to take this photo of the two of us. I think it's terrific!

Diana and Karen in art museum

At that point I decided I really couldn't top that <g>, so I went back to the hotel to rest for a couple of hours. Not napping, just resting and looking over these wonderful photos. But the adventure was not quite over!

I had made dinner reservations at a seafood restaurant in Williamsburg. I found the place easily enough, but all the parking nearby was full! That's something I hadn't anticipated. I've lived all my life in the suburbs, and rarely visit downtown areas, so I'm not used to it. Fortunately I was able to find a handicapped spot in a public parking lot about three or four blocks from the restaurant. I made a careful note of the "Lot # 4" sign on the parking lot and set out on my scooter toward the restaurant. Unfortunately, I have no sense of direction at all, and I promptly got lost. Pure panic for a moment -- what am I going to do?? -- and then I ended up asking a young man sitting on a bench nearby for help. He led me back to within sight of the restaurant, and in the end I had a lovely meal. (Solo dining at nice restaurants was also a new experience for me on this trip, but it all worked out very well.)

It wasn't until I was seated in the restaurant and had ordered my food that it occurred to me that of course Google Maps could have helped me in that situation. So while I was waiting, I pulled out my phone, located the parking lot where my car was on Google Maps, and found a route that would take me back there. That worked fine, much to my relief! I was glad I'd made early dinner reservations so that I didn't have to be wandering around after dark trying to find the car. So, no harm done, a valuable lesson learned, and the fact that I handled that situation successfully really gave a boost to my confidence!

As I pulled into the hotel parking lot afterward, I couldn't stop saying out loud, "I did it! I did it!" I was so excited, and proud of myself, that this whole trip worked out so well.


Mary W said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures, and congratulations on a successful trip! I love visiting historical sites like this and will be putting it at the top of my list.

Anonymous said...

Oh I loved reading about your adventures thank you so much for sharing them with us !!!

vivian said...

In the TV show, Benedict Arnold and Claire have a wonderful conversation about striving for things. I think that you have just proved that you can do more than you imagined. I will look forward to hearing about your next travels.

dralleman said...

I really enjoyed reading your account of your time in Yorktown. I live and work in Williamsburg, VA (at William & Mary) and I was lucky enough to be at the Yorktown event too. It was my first time to meet Diana, and it was a very exciting experience. I went with a dear friend and fellow Outlander fan, and we had the best time talking to other attendees. Diana was wonderful, and very kind to all the fans. I can't imagine the stamina it took to sign all those books! My friend and I were saying on the way home that we hoped Diana would have a chance to visit Colonial Williamsburg while she was in the area. I was so happy to see from your picture at the folk art museum that she did indeed make it there.

Martha said...

Your adventure was so interesting. I love Williamsburg and was in Yorktown in. 1976. So interesting to see the changes in the area

Powered by Blogger.