Welcome to the "Beyond the Bell" calendar page! We currently have a number of events scheduled throughout 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.


May 2016

Monday, May 9th

Dinosaur in a Synchrotron

Paleontology has been revitalized with the onslaught of new technological applications of physics, chemistry, and computer engineering. Old bones are brought to new light as even the scrappiest fossil can unleash a suite of hidden information only available in the 21st century. Be on hand, with a brew and some food in front of you, as Jennifer Anné highlights some of her exciting work in using one of the most powerful (and sci-fi-like) machines, the synchrotron, to do everything from diagnosing dinosaur diseases to explaining what makes a manatee big boned. ("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.

Wednesday, May 18th

City in a Park Book Talk

Authors James McClelland and Lynn Miller and special guest Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, discuss the history of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park System and how national urban parks connect citizens to nature. Pre-registration is suggested.

Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent
15 S. 7th Street
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
City in a Park

Thursday, May 19th

An Evening in Franklin Square

Parx Casino hosts this annual fundraiser that begins with with cocktails by the lanterns at 5:30 p.m. and is followed by a silent auction, the suspenseful Parx Square Derby, a seated dinner in the tent, a live auction and dancing. Proceeds help maintain the safe and welcoming green space, signature attractions and free programming that Franklin Square visitors have learned to expect and enjoy over the last 10 years. (Because of the size of this event, the square will closed to the public from 5 p.m. until closing. The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival will also be closed the night of May 19th. Sorry about that, folks!)

Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
5:30 p.m.
An Evening in Franklin Square

Monday, May 23rd

The Petroleum Puzzle

The liquid hydrocarbon called petroleum has been known, harvested, and used for thousands of years, but it's only been since the 16th century that the different forms of liquid, semisolid, and solid petroleum (e.g., naphtha, bitumen, asphalt) were systematically exploited. It was also during this period that the chemical composition of oil as a compound of carbon and hydrogen grew to be understood. Join Francesco Gerali as he presents a "brown bag" lecture aimed to frame and contextualize the theories, interpretations, and speculations of natural philosophers, chemists, and finally geologists that made petroleum a "marvel of nature."

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
12 - 1 p.m.

Thursday, May 26th

Life in the Universe

A distinguished panel of scientists, representing three separate centuries of thought, discuss where the belief in life outside of Earth comes from, and why that belief had waned and waxed over the intervening years.

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
6 - 7:30 p.m.
Life in the Universe

Saturday - Monday, May 28th - May 30th

Memorial Day Weekend

Admission will be free on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th, but that's not all by any measure! Throughout the Memorial Day weekend, the National Constitution Center will pay tribute to those brave men and women by exploring how Americans today honor our military heroes. Visit their website for a complete list of activities.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Memorial Weekend

Monday, May 30th

Memorial Day Ceremony

As it has done in the past, The Independence Seaport Museum will be offering free admission for all veterans and active military, along with discounted admission for their relatives, on Memorial Day. Additionally, a remembrance ceremony, honoring those Americans who gave their lives in service to their country, featuring a Coast Guard color guard, will take place on the Spanish-American War Cruiser Olympia.

Independence Seaport Museum
Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd. & Walnut St.
2 - 3 p.m.
Memorial Day Ceremony

June 2016

Friday, June 3rd

Between Food and Medicine

During the June First Friday celebration, the Chemical Heritage Foundation takes us back to the days before vitamins and dietary supplements entered the mainstream, when we were experimenting with adding enzymes to our food. As always seems to be the case, there was a lot of hype and high expectations as both scientists and consumers alike believed this process could solve everything from personal sickness to societal ills, such as poverty. It should be a fascinating evening as the CHF dives into the strange world of edible health and the food thrift movement.

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
First Friday at the Chemical Heritage Foundation

Sunday, September 13th

Mexican Independence Day Festival

Philly Beer Week's Official Beer Garden will be at Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River Waterfront this year! Beer Week features beer tastings and beer-centric events all week long.

Spruce Street Harbor Park
Columbus Blvd & Spruce Street
Beer Week

Saturday, June 4th

Flag Day at Betsy Ross' House

Betsy Ross herself raises a 13-star flag in the Betsy Ross House courtyard to kick off the day's events. Then, at 1 p.m., the nation welcomes 13 new Americans in a moving naturalization ceremony, hosted by the Philadelphia Flag Day Association. In between, ceremonies move to Independence Hall, where the park's superintendent, Cynthia MacLeod, will read the original act that established the flag of the United States, followed by a reading of the Mayor of Philadelphia's Army Birthday Proclamation, remarks by military dignitaries, and a special enlistment ceremony. Then, turn you eyes skyward as the Spirit of Liberty Sky Diving Team drops in for a short visit.

Betsy Ross House
239 Arch Street
10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Flag Day

Tuesday, June 14th

Stars and Stripes Festival

The National Constitution Center joins with the Betsy Ross House and Independence Hall for this combined celebration of our nation's flag and the birthday of its standing army.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
10:30 a.m.
Stars and Stripes Festival

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 May 31st, 2016

Played in Philadelphia: Albert Schoenhut, Philadelphia's Own Santa Claus

Become a kid again by visiting the magical world of Albert Schoenhut's toys at the Philadelphia History Museum! Visit the circus, tickle the ivories and see Santa's toys! Exhibition highlights include the Humpty Dumpty Circus, rarely-seen dolls and an interactive toy piano. Explore the hometown story of the company famous for 4,5,6, Pick-Up Sticks, among many other childhood favorites.

Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent
15 S. 7th Street
Santa's Toy Maker

Now Through 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

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


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