Challenged with the task of designing and developing a map-based interactive experience focused on lesser-known participants of the American Revolution, Interactive Knowledge combined historical maps, timeline functionality, animations, original artwork, and Parallax scrolling to tell their compelling stories.

About this project

The American Battlefield Trust and the Daughters of the American Revolution asked Interactive Knowledge to create a uniquely formatted educational website that introduces several interesting people who participated in the American Revolution. The American Revolution Experience tells the story of twenty-two individuals who significantly affected the outcome of the revolution. The website offers visitors an opportunity to learn details about these people by interacting with maps, timelines, archival documents, animations, and original art that brings their stories to life. 


The project goals

The Trust’s historians provided a wealth of information and assets about these individuals, and how each, uniquely contributed to the outcome of the American Revolution. We wanted to not only tell their stories, but also let users follow their journeys through the colonies, and sometimes beyond while providing an accurate historical timeframe. The map-based experience, along with animations and “scrolly-telling”, allowed us to do that in an engaging and playful way.  

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    Screenshot of the homepage of The American Revolution Experience. A map with blue and red markers with portraits below that are tied to the markers

The IK approach

Stories About a Diverse Group of Patriots and Loyalists

All of the people featured on the American Revolution Experience website appear on the home page, placed on a map of the Revolutionary War-era map. Their location is based on a key element of their story. Visitors to the site can scroll over the images on the map to see the names of each person and a brief description. Those featured on the website are not commonly known and include formerly enslaved people, women on both sides of the conflict, and men who fought in the war for reasons that ranged from deep philosophical beliefs to expedience and self-preservation.

Each true story is thoroughly researched and written by historians. The content is easily accessible to any audience and perfect for middle school and high school students and teachers. 

Parallax Scrolling and Animation

Parallax scrolling is an engaging technique that allows the Interactive Knowledge design team to build long pages with access to a wide variety of types of content. Every story on the American Revolution Experience website is revealed as visitors to the site scroll down the page. Text is displayed throughout each story but the text is supplemented with access to archival documents, paintings that were produced during the Revolutionary War era, images of artifacts, and animated maps that show locations and movement from one location to another as described in the story. This technique is sometimes referred to as “scrollytelling”.

Archival Documents, Portraits, and Artifacts

The American Revolution Experience is designed to engage audiences with rarely heard stories delivered in an engaging context. The website features nearly one hundred archival documents, portraits, and images of artifacts. Many of the documents can be read and understood because all of the archival materials are presented in a modal that allows visitors to zoom into the details. Visually compelling Revolutionary War-era maps are included, providing a factual context that brings history to life.

Content Organized by Themes

All of the stories are organized by historical themes that were chosen by the project’s historians and educators. These themes help visitors understand some context for the many events that shaped the Revolutionary War period. The themes offer a unique organization of the content that will be very useful for students, teachers, and anyone interested in American history.

The following themes are featured in this section of the website:

  • Choosing Sides
  • Freedom and Slavery
  • Modern-Day Legacy
  • Post-War Life
  • Roles in the Army

Detailed Timelines

Timelines offer a great way to understand how an event is affected by what came before it in time and how that event influenced what occurred next. The Timeline designed for the American Revolution Experience website combines well-known events that occurred throughout the Revolutionary War period (i.e. Continental Congress approves and begins to sign the Declaration of Independence) with events that shaped the stories of the people featured on the site.

The majority of items listed in the Timeline are interactive. Clicking on the nodes related to people will carry the visitor to the specific spot in the scrolling story that relates to that event. Clicking on the battle icons reveals a landing page for that battle on the American Battlefields Trust website. Visitors can choose to dive into the Trust website to find extensive content about the battle (including maps, videos, and field trip itineraries) or return to the Timeline and view more events. 

Original Art

One of the most appealing features of this product is the original portraits of the people whose stories populate the site. Each person is carefully rendered to show their humanity and create interest and intrigue. These portraits were created specifically for the American Revolution Experience and provide a consistent design element that is applied throughout the website. In addition to the portraits, nearly half of the stories include an additional drawing that illustrates a historical scene that is included in the person’s story.


The Results

The American Revolution Experience remains one of the most popular sites for the American Battlefield Trust. Its unique stories and format continue to delight educators, students, and lovers of history. It provides a wealth of information that is difficult to find elsewhere, and the interactivity provides engagement that a static website cannot do.

The American Revolution Experience was nominated for a 2022 Webby Award in Education.