Cultural & Historical Sites to Visit


The African American Museum in Philadelphia

The first museum in a major American city specifically built to house and interpret collections of African American history and culture. Since its founding in 1976, the museum has served as a focal point of black intellectual and artistic activities through exhibitions, publications, educational, scholarly and cultural programs.

701 Arch Street
Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-6
www.aampmuseum.org
215-574-0380

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American Philosophical Society

The nation's oldest and most prestigious learned society has an international membership that includes about 100 Nobel Laureates. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 to promote knowledge in the sciences and humanities, it concentrates on the history of science and American history up to the Civil War - through research, symposia, library resources and community service. Changing exhibits.

Library Hall
105 S. 5th Street Mon-Fri 9-5.
www.amphilsoc.org
215-440-3400

Free
Philosophical Hall Gallery
104 S. 5th Street
Wed-Sun 12-5
www.amphilsoc.org
215-440-3400
Free


The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Founded in 1814, this member supported library - a National Historic Landmark building in the Italian Revival style - is furnished with early 19th-century American fine and decorative arts. Visitors are welcome to first-floor gallery exhibits on architectural history and historic design. Reference collections and tour of complete building by appointment.

219 S. 6th Street
Mon-Fri 9-5
www.PhilaAthenaeum.org
215-925-2688
Free
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Atwater Kent Museum

Philadelphia's official history museum - with a collection of over 80,000 fascinating objects - dedicated to telling Philadelphia's 300-year story. Through exhibits, educational programs and family activities, Atwater Kent illustrates what everyday life was like for generations of Philadelphians.

15 South 7th Street Daily 10-5.
Closed Tue. Closed major holidays.
www.philadelphiahistory.org
215-685-4830

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Betsy Ross House

Visit this historic house museum that interprets the story and life of Betsy Ross, the seamstress credited with making the first American flag in 1777. The house museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Stars and Stripes, the nation's most prominent symbol of unity and purpose. 

239 Arch Street
Tue-Sun 10-5. Open daily in summer,
Memorial Day through Labor day &
most Monday holidays.
www.betsyrosshouse.org
Free, donations welcome.
Restroom and shop , not house
215-686-1252

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Carpenters' Hall

A privately owned landmark Georgian building located within Independence Park - home of America's first builders' organization. It was the site of the First Continental Congress, in 1774, and of other significant historic events. Exhibits include a model of the Hall under construction and a display of carpenter's tools.

320 Chestnut Street
Tue-Sun 10-4  www.carpentershall.org

215-925-0167
Free
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The Chemical Heritage Foundation

Seeks to strengthen understanding of the chemical sciences and technologies. Encourages able students to concentrate their studies in these sciences and industries, and instills in chemical scientists and engineers a greater pride in their heritage and their contributions to society. Housed in the First National Bank Building, original structure built in 1865.

315 Chestnut Street
M-F 9-5, by appointment. Free.
www.chemheritage.org
215-925-2222


Elfreth's Alley

Our nation's oldest residential street and a National Historic Landmark. Stroll along the cobblestones and experience 18th-century homes where residents keep the Alley's past alive with their daily presence. The Elfreth's Alley Museum welcomes visitors for guided tours which share the 300-year history of this charming neighborhood.

Off 2nd Street between Race and Arch
Feb-Dec: Tue-Sat 10-4; Sun 12-4.
Jan: Sat 10-4: Sun 12-4.
www.elfrethsalley.org
215-574-0560
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Fireman's Hall Museum

Firefighting history comes to life in this restored 1902 firehouse. Operated by Philadelphia's Fire Department, the museum traces its lineage back to Benjamin Franklin. Early equipment includes original firemarks, 1730 Hand Pumper, horse-drawn and motorized apparatus, a pilot house and a 1907 Metropolitan Steamer.

147 N. 2nd Street
Tue-Sat 9-4:30.
Closed major holidays.
215-923-1438
Free
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Independence National Historical Park

Begin your visit to Independence National Historical Park at the Independence Visitor Center located on Market Street at Sixth Street.  Then stroll over to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, The Second Bank (portrait gallery), Franklin Court, Welcome Park, and other treasured sites.

Market Street at Sixth Street
Daily 9-5
215-597-8974
www.nps.gov/inde
Free
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Independence Hall

A national shrine - where the dream of a free country of independent citizens became a reality. Two documents on which the foundation of our country rests were drafted here: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Built in 1732-1756, restored and preserved over the years, this building originally served as the Pennsylvania State House.

Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th
Daily 9-5
215-597-8974
Free
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Liberty Bell Pavilion

Philadelphia's most visited site and America's most recognized icon, the Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom throughout the world. Though silenced by a crack in 1846, its prophetic biblical inscription will forever ring: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

Market Street between 5th and 6th
Daily 9-5
215-597-8974
Free
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Independence Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia

This branch of the public library system of Philadelphia serves a diverse community with a variety of special programs and collections, including Chinese language materials and gay and lesbian literature.

18 S. 7th Street

www.library.phila.gov

215-685-1633


Independence Seaport Museum

Explore the region's maritime heritage with family-oriented exhibits, magnificent ship models and over 14,000 artifacts and art. Climb aboard Admiral Dewey's 1892 cruiser OLYMPIA, tour the WW II submarine BECUNA, both National Historic Landmarks, and search for treasures in the nautical gift shop.

Penn's Landing at Walnut Street
Daily 10-5. Closed New Year's Day,
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
www.phillyseaport.org
215-925-5439

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Lights of Liberty Show

The Lights of Liberty Show, sponsored by Peco Energy, is a sound and light spectacular! Grab a 3-D headset and join in the dramatic struggle for Independence. See original artwork projected on America's most historic buildings. Hear voices of "patriots" (Walter Cronkite, Whoopi Goldberg and others) and music of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

PECO Energy Liberty Center,
corner of 6th and Chestnut Streets
1-hour shows begin after dusk.
April-Memorial Day: Thur-Sat.
Memorial Day-Labor Day: Tue-Sat.
Labor Day-Oct.28: Thur-Sat.
www.lightsofliberty.org
215-542-3789

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National Constitution Center

Opening July 4, 2003, on Philadelphia's Independence Mall, this museum is dedicated to honoring and explaining the U.S. Constitution.

The Bourse, Suite 560
111 S. Independence mall East
www.constitutioncenter.org
215-923-0004


National Liberty Museum

A museum dedicated to combating violence and bigotry by celebrating our heritage of freedom. America's new "home for heroes" includes more than 90 original paintings, bronzes, and glass sculptures that represent the fragile nature of liberty, including a 20-foot "Flame of Liberty" by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

321 Chestnut Street
Daily 10-5.Winter & Fall, closed Mon.
www.libertymuseum.org
215-925-2800

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National Museum of American Jewish History

Presenting programs and experiences that preserve, explore and celebrate the history of Jews in America. 

55 N. 5th Street
Independence Mall East
Mon-Thu 10-5; Fri 10-3; Sun noon-5.
Closed Jewish holidays.
www.nmajh.org
215-923-3811

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Pennsylvania Hospital

The nation's first hospital, founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, is now one of America's foremost medical centers. The hospital contains the oldest exisitng surgical amphitheater, the first medical library, the History of Nursing Museum and many historical paintings, antiques, artifacts, memorabilia and gardens.

800 Spruce Street
Self-guided tours Mon-Fri 8:30-5.

http://pennhealth.com/pahosp/
Group tours by appointment.215-829-5434
Free
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Physick House

Dr. Philip Syng Physick, known as the "Father of American Surgery" acquired this elegant, free-standing Federal mansion in 1815 and it remained his residence until 1837. Now a restored house museum with beautiful grounds, owned and managed by the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, it features Dr. Physick's original medical instruments.

321 S. 4th Street
Hourly Tours:
September-May: Thur-Sat 11-2.
June-August: Thur-Sat 12-4; Sun 1-4.
Call to confirm.

www.PhilaLandmarks.org
215-925-7866

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Polish American Cultural Center Museum

The museum features displays on Polish history and culture. Paintings of Great Men and Women of Poland, a pictorial display of "Poland at Arms," with WW II photographs from 1939-1944.

308 Walnut Street
Mon-Sat 10-4.
Closed on holidays.
www.PolishAmericanCenter.org
215-922-1700
Free
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Powel House

One of the finest examples of the grand Georgian house anywhere in America. This was the home of Samuel Powel, the last colonial Mayor in Philadelphia. Mayor Powel and his wife, Elizabeth, entertained anyone who was anyone at the time of the American Revolution. Museum and garden owned and managed by the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks.

244 S. 3rd Street
Thur-Sat 12-5, Sun 1-5

www.PhilaLandmarks.org
215-627-0364

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Presbyterian Historical Society

This elegant Georgian style building, with changing exhibits and a large portrait collection, houses the nation's oldest denominational historical archives and library. Materials documenting the history of the Presbyterian Church and the Reformed tradition in America are available for research purposes.

425 Lombard Street
Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30
www.history.pcusa.org

215-627-1852
Free