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The National Constitution Center is dedicated to the research and education of the United States Constitution among the masses. This museum curates an unrivaled collection of exhibits, relics and multimedia displays that offer an avid glimpse into the country's rich heritage. Explore their interactive exhibitions, view the replica of the Emancipation Proclamation and acquaint yourself with the American War of Independence. Play make-believe by recording your voice while reading the Presidential Oath of Office and rub shoulders with 42 bronze statues of the pioneers of the constitution. Visitors can also admire model government buildings and photographs of Pulitzer award recipients, print their own news and play a game of trivia. This complex is also home to the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach.
These chambers are where the Congress of the fledgling United States held sessions until relocating to Washington, D.C. in 1801. The Bill of Rights ratification and the inaugurations of George Washington and John Adams occurred within these walls. Mahogany desks and studded leather chairs fill the first floor meeting room. The carpeting is a reproduction of the one used in the early 1790s. Upstairs, 28 of the 32 chairs and the Secretary's desk are authentic. Impressive images in the hall include the 19th-century fresco of an eagle holding an olive branch, signifying peace, and the oval sunburst design commemorating the thirteen original states with thirteen stars.
Though William Penn left the Anglican Church to become a Quaker, he practiced religious tolerance. The Anglicans built this 1727-44 beautiful structure, based on Christopher Wren's designs in London. There are still services on Sundays and holy days, plus architectural tours. George Washington's seat is marked by a plaque. The Christ Church burial ground, the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin and his family, is at the corner of 5th and Arch Streets.
When it opened in 1829 Eastern State Penitentiary was one of the largest prison facilities built in the country. The penitentiary experimented with previously unheard ideas of incarceration that prioritized reformation over punishment. A form of solitary confinement was the rule, on the theory inmates would use the time for prayer, reflection and penitence. Despite the cost and efforts taken, the system was not a success and numerous challenges finally led it to close in the 1970s, but not before inspiring numerous similar prison systems around the world. Inmates formerly incarcerated here include arch-criminal Al Capone and bank robber Willie Horton. Although it stands today in crumbling condition, visitors will find it fascinating to explore the vaulted cell blocks and central rotunda.
The red-bricked Georgian building in the midst of the 45-acre (18.2-hectare) Independence National Historical Park is one of the most recognizable historical landmarks in the nation, emblematic of the culmination of a series of epoch-making events that led to the birth of an independent America. The place where both the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were signed, the Independence Hall has come to be synonymous with the the ideas of freedom and democracy that the declaration is hinged on, and stands tall on Philadelphia's historic Chestnut Street, flanked by side wings and a steeple. Constructed between 1732 and 1753, the famed Independence Hall was the brainchild of Andrew Hamilton and Edmund Woolley, and also served as the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. The iconic Liberty Bell is located right around the corner, although its original home was Independence Hall's bell tower.
Guild halls were as important in the young America as they had been in Europe. Carpenter's Hall stands as a tribute to the hands that built America. This historic locale is appropriately situated amongst the many other historical sites in the area, since none of them would be there if it were not for the tradition of American workmanship. It's a simple, well-made structure. Books and souvenirs relating to American history and architecture are stocked as well as postcards and related children's playthings.
The legend of how Betsy Ross created the first American flag may lack proper historical evidence, but it remains an integral part of early American history. Her house offers insight into Colonial life. Betsy Ross mainly used this abode to rent rooms to travelers and wayfarers. According to the Philadelphia Historic Society, more people visit the Ross house than any other historical attraction. The house is located in Old City adjacent to many shopping and eating destinations.