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.


April 2016

Friday, April 1st


You won't have to wait long to take in this month's First Friday events. To celebrate, the Chemical Heritage Foundation will be staying open late and flexing their mental muscles in their academic equivalent of a strongman competition. How will they do that? Drop in and see! They promise to leave you laughing on this April Fool's Day, and hint that you may even learn something.

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
5 - 8 p.m.

Monday, April 11th

Color Standards

The "color question" hasn't always revolved around race. As anyone who's opened a large box of Crayola crayons knows, you can't just pull out a green crayon. You have to pick one from an assortment of varied greens. How did these colors come to be measured, quantified, and standardized? Well, that's what Michael Rossi is going to talk about in this "Brown Bag" lecture. It all began in the late 1800's, starting with small, proprietary color systems, and grew into a common resource administered by bureaucratic bodies like our National Bureau of Standards and the Commission Internationale de l'Éclairage (International Commission of Illumination).

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

Monday, April 11th

Art and Science through the Microscope

The director of the Wistar Institute's Imaging Shared Resource, James Hayden, takes you on a guided tour of the Microworld, that part of our world that is available only to those equipped with the right microscopes. It starts at the cellular level and goes on down to the atomic. So belly up to the bar and down a brewsky or two, or just have dinner, while James takes you on this hour-long Fantastic Voyage. ("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.

Friday, April 15th

Gathering Voices

The American Philosophical Society opens its newest exhibition, "Gathering Voices: Thomas Jefferson and Native America" with a opening remarks and a reception, featuring light snacks and drinks. Thomas Jefferson had an abiding interest in Native American culture and language and spent decades collecting vocabularies and artifacts from the various Native American nations his young nation encountered. Tragically, a lot of what he collected was lost to us, but much of what remains will be on display, supplemented by what APS has accumulated in the intervening years since then.

American Philosophical Society
APS Museum
104 South Fifth Street
5 - 7 p.m. (Remarks at 5:30)
Thomas Jefferson/Gathering Voices

Thursday, April 21st

The Militant Spirit of John Quincy Adams

Journalist James Traub takes you into the complex life of a man who was the son of our second President, but who would go on to occupy the office, himself, along with just about every other important government post you can imagine, through the course of a lifetime spent in politics, literally ending on the floor of the U.S. Congress.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
12 noon.
John Quincy Adams

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

Monday, April 25th

Great Gaffes — Science Gone Wrong

Lest you think that all science is as easy as the Philadelphia Science Festival presenters make it seem, this special two-hour-long "Science on Tap" edition is designed to dispel that notion. As you've come to expect from these events, though, it's all in fun! ("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 - 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 30th

Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival

Ongoing road construction (some might argue the word should be destruction) around the Franklin Institute means that the grand finale for this year's Philadelphia Science Festival can't take place where it usually takes place. Thankfully, the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing has stepped in to serve as substitute host, so no one has to miss a thing! So much science, so little time. Over 175 exhibitors will be on hand, covering everything from astronomy to zoology.

Great Plaza at Penn's Landing
Columbus Blvd & Chestnut Street
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Science Festival Carnival

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 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 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