Welcome to the "Beyond the Bell" calendar page! We currently have special events scheduled for the months of November and December, as well as a number of ongoing events and activities that can be enjoyed for as long as the weather remains decent.


November 2014

Through January 1st, 2015

Franklin Square Celebrates the Holidays

Hardly a day goes by between now and the end of the year without something special going on in beautiful Franklin Square. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and seemingly everything in between. Check out the complete list of events at their website.

Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Holidays in Franklin Square

Tuesday, November 18th

Jefferson and Adams

They worked together to write the Declaration of Independence, they were rivals, they were friends, and they even died on the same day, though many miles apart. The correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams was voluminous and should be required reading for anyone interested in the early days of the republic. Two talented professional presidential impersonators combine to bring this interesting and complex relationship to life in this two hour presentation.

American Philosophical Society
Franklin Hall
427 Chestnut Street
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Jefferson and Adams

December 2014

Prior to Friday, December 5th

Your Papers, Please!

The tenth annual "History of Women's Health Conference" isn't until Wednesday, April 29th, 2015, but the time to submit proposals and abstracts for topics is now. The conference brings together scholars from the humanities and health care professionals to discuss the past, present, and future state of women's health. Imagine what an awful state a Victorian-era woman's health could be in because polite society wouldn't let her name the source of her aches and pains in mixed company! (According to Bill Bryson, the only mentionable thing below her shoulders would have been her stomach, and the only things below her waist would have been her limbs.) If you can speak to this or any similar subject, write it up and submit it.

Pennsylvania Hospital
History of Women's Health Conference

Friday, December 5th

A New Chapter Opens at CHF

The Chemical Heritage Foundation uses the monthly "First Friday" celebration to open its newest exhibit, Books of Secrets: Writing and Reading Alchemy. The exhibit illuminates the important role of the written word in alchemical pursuits by placing the actual books used by alchemists alongside historical artworks portraying their use. Curators will give brief introductions to the exhibit at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. and will be on hand to offer their insights. Guided tours of related exhibits will be available (first-come, first-served) at 5:15, 6:15, and 7:15 p.m.

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
5 p.m. - 8 p.m. (Presentations at 5:30 and 6:45)

Saturday, December 6th

Deck the Alley

This is the annual opportunity for visitors to enter more than a dozen private historic homes on the nation's oldest residential street. Come out to Elfreth's Alley to hear carolers, enjoy refreshments, and meet colonial and early American historical figures.

Elfreth's Alley
Off 2nd Street, between Race & Arch
3 - 7 p.m.
Deck the Alley

Monday, December 15th

Bill of Rights Day Book Festival

The Constitution Center commemorates the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights with a book festival — its first-ever book festival — featuring a selection of books addressing the issues surrounding our most fundamental and valuable rights and freedoms.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
BoRD Books

Wednesday, December 31st

New Year's Eve Fireworks

There will be fireworks fired off over the Delaware River to usher in the new year. The Independence Seaport Museum will be staying open late to provide a prime view of the family-friendly early evening festivities.

Independence Seaport Museum
Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd & Walnut St.
4 - 7 p.m. p.m.

Ongoing Events and Activities


Outdoor History and After Hours Tours

Historic Philadelphia offers outdoor history tours, after hours events, and pub crawls. All of the details are on our Shows and Tours page.

Whenever Weather Permits ...

Tours of The Christ Church Burial Ground

Christ Church, "The Nation's Church," offers guided tours of its burial ground, which is the final resting place for over 4,000 individuals – including Benjamin Franklin and four signers of the Declaration of Independence, not to mention a number of our country's early medical pioneers and Revolutionary War heroes. For more information, refer to the listing on our Historic Houses of Worship page.

Christ Church Burial Ground
5th & Arch Streets
Christ Church Calendar


Free-Ranging FREE Ranger-Guided Tours

The Independence National Historical Park offers about a half-dozen special tours every day. All are guided by one of the many park rangers. Best of all, all of the tours are FREE. Check them out.

Independence National Historical Park
Various locations
Various times
Independence National Historical Park Tours

Now Open

Radios Made in Philadelphia

Roy Shapiro, who was the general manager of KYW 1060 AM when it went to an all-news format, was more than a maker of radio history. He also collected it. His collection took the form of vintage radios, specifically those made in and around the Philadelphia area. Thirteen of these radios, made in the 1930's and 1940's make up the collection, which shows the city's leading role in the rise of, and the "Golden Age" of, radio in America.

Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent
15 S. 7th Street
Made to be Played