Welcome to the "Beyond the Bell" calendar page! We currently have events scheduled through the early months of 2016. There are also a number of ongoing events. While it's warm (and even when it's not), you can enjoy the various outdoor activities.


February 2016

Friday, February 5th

Art in Wood: The WildLIFE Project

The Center for Art in Wood opens a new exhibit focused on the issues of poaching and illegal ivory trading. Wendy Maruyama goes beyond the usual artist's traditional studio craft to enter the world of political advocacy. In her new works, elephants are memorialized in monumental form with sculpted heads ranging from 8 to 12 feet in height.

Center for Art in Wood
141 N. 3rd Street
Wendy Maruyama: The wildLIFE Project

Saturday, February 6th

A Lunar New Year's Celebration

Welcome the Year of the Monkey as the new moon in February instructs us to turn the page on a new lunar calendar year, according to many eastern traditions. As usual, the Seaport Museum is the place to be to enjoy cultural activities, crafts, dancing and more from China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam intended to start the new year off right.

Independence Seaport Museum
Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd & Walnut St.
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Lunar New Year

Sunday, February 7th

Valentine's Day a Week Early

There's nothing sweeter than a little chocolate just in time for Valentine's Day. In the spirit of the holiday, join the Betsy Ross House for a very special Colonial Chocolate Making! Learn about chocolate's fascinating colonial history while enjoying free samples. (Colonial Chocolate Making is FREE with admission.)

Betsy Ross House
239 Arch Street
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Colonial Chocolate Making

Monday, February 8th

Liberty's Nemesis: The Unchecked Expansion of the State

Dean Reuter of the Federalist Society and John Yoo, legal scholar and former Justice Department official, are joined by former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray and Center for Equal Opportunity President Linda Chavez to discuss why the concentration of power in administrative agencies may be the greatest threat to our liberties today. This event is free, but registration is recommended.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
12 p.m. (noon)
Liberty's Nemesis

Monday, February 8th

Forensic Facts vs TV Fiction

Cold beers and hot meals meet "Hot Lights, Sharp Steel, Cold Flesh" when this month's "Science on Tap" tackles the topic of the forensic autopsy. Marianne Hamel M.D., Ph.D. examines its realities, limitations, and implications to show that reality is quite different and, actually, much more compelling than what we see on TV. Attendees should be warned that this talk contains graphic depictions of human remains and post-mortem specimens. ("Science on Tap" is sponsored in part by the American Philosophical Society and the Chemical Heritage Foundation).

National Mechanics Bar & Restaurant
22 South Third Street
6 - 7 p.m.

March 2016

Friday, March 4th

The Science of Sound Reproduction

The kick-off to the First Friday season sees the Chemical Heritage Foundation using a theatrical production to bring the technical history of sound reproduction to life. Enjoy a live, simulated radio play by the Mechanical Theater Company, learn about how sound effects were made in classic radio plays, and decide for yourself whether what you "hear" affects what you "see."

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

Wednesday, March 16th

Prose and Poetry in the City of Brotherly Love

Thom Nickels presents a talk focusing on some of the most important and influential writers to have lived in and around Philadelphia over the past two centuries, from Bayard Taylor, Walt Whitman, George Lippard, and Edgar Allan Poe to James Michener. He even includes Agnes Repplier, "the Jane Austen of America" who once shared a bit of whiskey with Whitman.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
219 S. 6th Street
5:30 p.m.
Literary Philadelphia

April 2016

Friday, April 22nd - Sunday, June 12th

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival

The Chinese Lantern Festival is a celebration of light and culture that features artisans from China and the Philadelphia region. For seven weeks, Franklin Square will glow with more than 25 larger-than-life illuminated displays of giant flowers, a three-story pagoda, a huge Chinese dragon and much more, created using traditional Chinese methods with thousands of LED lights in brilliant colors.

Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
Chinese Lanterns

Ongoing Events and Outdoor Activities

Starting Saturday, January 30th

Women, Work and the Revolution

A new interactive experience at the Betsy Ross House highlights the process of doing the daily domestic chores in the 18th century, a long time before any of our modern labor-saving appliances were even imagined, let alone invented.

Betsy Ross House
239 Arch Street
Women's Work

Now Through April 22nd, 2016

Color in a Can

Prior to the Civil War, paints were made in small batches, resulting in poor quality and inconsistent colors. Afterward, improved methods fueled a rapid growth in paint manufacturing in America. Consumers suddenly had access to convenient, ready-mixed paints of consistent quality and a wide array of colors previously unimagined, and advertisers were there the entire way, telling them about every one that was available to them. This exhibition centers around advertising signs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to the signs, it also includes more than 450 items such as brochures, trade catalogs, color samples, and related materials that document the rapid growth and exuberant promotion of the paint industry.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
219 S. 6th Street
Color in a Can

Now thru September 2nd, 2016

Science at Play

Ignite your imagination with chemistry sets and science toys! This free exhibition at the Chemical Heritage Foundation lifts the lid on these miniature laboratories to reveal stories of inspiration, discovery, creativity, magic, and mayhem.

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
Science at Play

Now thru December 2017

Constituting Liberty

Opening on Bill of Rights Day (December 15th), 2014 and continuing through almost to the end of 2017, the National Constitution Center will be featuring the founding documents of our great republic. Starting with a first edition stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence, the exhibit includes a rare copy of the first public printing of the U.S. Constitution, and rounds it out with a special display of one of the 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights

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


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.

Until Further Notice ...

Second Bank Closed for Renovations

There's a note on the Independence National Historical Park website stating that the Portrait Gallery at the Second Bank of the United States "will remain closed to visitors through the winter while curators and conservators clean the paintings, and work to preserve this building." Sorry, folks!

Second Bank of the United States
Chestnut Street, between 4th & 5th
Second Bank Closed For Renovations