The first institution funded and built (in 1976) by a major municipality to document the heritage of African Americans. "Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876" focuses on the lives of African Americans during and after the birth of our new nation. Exhibits and programs recount achievements in the arts, entertainment, sports, politics and the Civil Rights movement.
701 Arch Street
Thurs-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5
Call to confirm holiday schedule.
This is the nation's oldest and most prestigious learned society with an international membership that includes many Nobel Laureates. It was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 to promote useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through research, seminars and library resources. Changing exhibits are open to the public.
105 S. 5th Street 104 S. 5th Street
Mon-Fri 9-4:45 Call for hours
Nearly 200 years old, the Athenaeum is a museum, library, rare books collection and archive — housed in an 1847 National Historic Landmark building. Visitors are welcome to visit its unique collections, reading rooms and changing exhibits of rare books, architecture and design. Researchers and group tours are asked to schedule appointments.
219 S. 6th Street
Fall-Spring: First 3 Sats 11-3
Visit this historic house museum that commemorates the life and accomplishments of Betsy Ross — the Philadelphia patriot believed to have created America's first flag. Experience interactive exhibits and meet "Betsy" as she works in her upholstery shop! The audio tour offers a fascinating look at the woman and the legend.
239 Arch Street
Spring thru summer: Daily 10-5
Fall thru winter: Tues-Sun: 10-5
Built in 1774, Carpenters' Hall is owned and operated by The Carpenters' Company, the oldest extant trade guild in America. The First Continental Congress met at Carpenters' Hall in 1774, and the following year Benjamin Franklin and a French spy, Julien Achard de Bonvouloir, held several meetings here, which paved the way for the French and American alliance during the American Revolution.
320 Chestnut Street
Tue-Sun 10-4 Closed Tue Jan-Feb
Closed Christmas, New Years & Easter
The center displays wood art on site, in traveling exhibitions and in publications. Its permanent collection of over 1000 objects from around the world ranges from traditional and functional every-day objects to contemporary sculptures. The library is filled with images, artists' files and books to help preserve the exciting history of wood turning and woodworking and their continuing evolution as contemporary art forms. Outreach programs bring hands-on wood turning and woodworking experience to students throughout the region.
141 N. 3rd Street
Closed Sun & Mon
The Museum at CHF reveals chemistry's untold stories, from alchemy to nanotechnology. Trace scientific progress in the laboratory, factory, and home, and learn how chemistry continues to shape the modern world. Discover the chemistry in your life!
315 Chestnut Street
Mon-Fri: 10-5 (1st Fri of Month to 8)
Sat (Apr-Sep): 10-4
Sun (May-Sep): 12-4
Sat & Sun (Oct-Mar): closed
America's oldest continuously residential street, this National Historical Landmark site has been home to thousands of people for over 300 years. Of its 32 original houses, 29 remain as private residences. Peek into the lives of working-class Colonial Americans by visiting the museum located in Houses #124 and 126, where tours are offered and souvenir guidebooks are available.
Off 2nd Street, between Race & Arch
Access to Alley:
Tours and Museum:
Learn about our nation's financial history in the city where it all started. The "Money in Motion" exhibit traces changes in our currency from the early 1600's to today. View money from the original 13 colonies, and a rare $100,000 bill. Explore our Federal Reserve System through state-of-the-art interactive displays.
100 N. 6th Street, between Arch & Race
March-Dec: Mon-Fri 9:30-4:30
June-Aug add: Sat 9-4:30
(Last visitors admitted at 4)
Firefighting history, which traces its lineage back to Benjamin Franklin, comes alive in this restored 1902 firehouse operated by Philadelphia's Fire Department. Displays include a 1730 hand pumper and the oldest existing steam fire engine in the country. Featured is an interactive fire safety display and 9/11 artifacts from Ground Zero. A new exhibit, "Franklin's Volunteers," covers Philadelphia firefighters prior to 1871.
147 N. 2nd Street
Tue-Sat: 10-4:30. Closed major holidays.
First Fri of every month: 10-9
General collections for children and adults include literature, poetry, nonfiction, newspapers and magazines. Special collections feature Philadelphia history and architecture, Chinese language and culture, and gay/lesbian topics. Computers are available to all. Book bargains abound in the used book alcove.
18 S. 7th Street
Mon & Wed: 12-8; Tue & Thur: 10-6; Fri & Sat: 10-5
Closed Sun & all major holidays
This National Historic Landmark consists of America's last remaining Colonial era marketplace, built in 1745, which is attached to our nation's oldest volunteer firehouse, built in 1805. The block-long roofed market sheds have been returned to their original purpose — now functioning on weekends every spring through fall as a thriving Farmers' Market and Crafts Fair.
S. 2nd Street,
between Pine & Delancey Streets
Spring thru Fall: Crafts Fair, Sat 10-6
Farmers' Market, Sun 10-2
One of the largest maritime collections in North America, this museum combines more than 25,000 artifacts with hands-on exhibits, boat models, and audiovisual displays. Watch a boat being built in the "Workshop on the Water" and climb inside two National Historic Landmark ships: the cruiser Olympia and the submarine Becuna. Museum highlights include a concert hall, children's programs, guided tours, plus a research archive and library.
Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd & Walnut St.
Thurs-Sat 10-7 thru Aug 31
closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas
Make this your first stop for information about Philadelphia and the region. Its multi-lingual concierge staff can help plan your visit and provide tickets to local tours and attractions. This Visitor Center is the exclusive location for tickets to tour Independence Hall. A gift shop, café, and theaters can all be found here.
6th & Market Streets
Summer (May 23 - Sep 7): 8:30-7
Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day
Explore the history and relevance of our nation's founding document here. Begin with "Freedom Rising," the theatrical production that takes you on a journey from 1787 to the present. "The Story of We the People" is a core exhibit where you can take the Oath of Office, vote for your favorite president, and sit on a Supreme Court bench. Then, in "Signers' Hall," pose with life-size statues of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
525 Arch Street
Mon-Fri 9:30-5; Sat 9:30-6; Sun 12-5
Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas
Celebrate America's diversity and democracy by honoring contemporary heroes of liberty from around the world. Hear the stories of more than 2,000 heroes — ranging from Nelson Mandela to the rescue workers who perished on 9/11. Intermixed with these stories are dozens of original glass art pieces illustrating the beauty (and fragility) of America's freedoms.
321 Chestnut Street
Daily 10-5; closed major holidays,
Closed Mondays in winter
This family-friendly museum illuminates the rights and freedoms enjoyed by all Americans. It illustrates how an immigrant population flourished under freedom after arriving in North America over 350 years ago. The new building showcases 1,200 artifacts, films and state-of-the-art interactive exhibits. Because other immigrants faced challenges similar to those confronted by Jews, this is a museum for all people to explore.
101 S Independence Mall East
Tues-Fri: 10- 5 Sat-Sun 10-5:30; Closed Mon
In 1808, prominent Americans — including Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Bishop William White, first chaplain to the Continental Congress — founded the nation's first society for the distribution of Bibles. The first Bible printed in the United States from stereotyped plates (dated 1812) is on exhibit at the historic Bible House (built for the Society in 1853). Its bookshop features Bibles in many versions and languages.
701 Walnut Street
(call for additional hours)
The nation's first hospital, founded in 1751 by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin, is now one of America's foremost medical centers. Its historic Pine Building features America's first medical library and oldest surgical amphitheatre. Works of art by Thomas Sully, Thomas Eakins, and Benjamin West are on view. Hospital archives hold administrative records from 1751.
800 Spruce Street
Guided tours by appointment. ($4/person suggested)
Self-guided tours: M-F, 9-4 ($4 suggested for tour brochure)
For research or other appointments,
Explore Philadelphia's 330-year history at this newly renovated historic building just steps from Independence Hall. Rare treasures on display date from the city's founding, Revolutionary and Civil War periods, as well as industrial and immigration eras. This museum celebrates Philadelphia as "Workshop of the World" and reveals the city's diversity with many wonderful exhibits — including "World Series Champions."
15 S. 7th Street
Tues-Sat: 10:30-4:30 Free for children under 12
This unique free-standing Federal townhouse, built in 1786, is named after Dr. Philip Syng Physick, the "Father of American Surgery" and "Soda's Pop." Its period rooms feature French-influenced neo-classical furnishings and a medical museum depicting Dr. Physick's amazing career. The large garden, with a winding path and grotto, contains plants characteristic of the 19th century.
321 S. 4th Street
Tours: Thur-Sat 12-4; Sun 1-4
Jan & Feb: by appointment only
This museum offers programs and exhibits featuring contributions of Poles and Polish Americans to world history and the USA — in the sciences, art, music, politics, religion and military achievement. On exhibit are paintings of "Great Polish Men and Women" and a display of WW II photographs from 1939 to 1944.
308 Walnut Street
Jan-April closed Saturdays
Step into one of America's grand Georgian homes and enter the world of the Colonial elite. Samuel Powel, Philadelphia's "Patriot Mayor" and his wife, Elizabeth Willing, were preeminent hosts who entertained the leaders of the American Revolution. Visit the drawing room where George Washington danced; ponder John Adams' "sinful feast;" and stroll through the tranquil garden.
244 S. 3rd Street
Tours: Thur-Sat 12-4; Sun 1-4;
Jan & Feb: by appointment only
This national archives and historical research center of the Presbyterian Church (USA) collects, preserves, and shares the history of the American Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. Headquartered in Philadelphia and open to the public, the Society's holdings include 18th to 21st-century denominational records, personal papers, and materials.
425 Lombard Street
Daily research $5; exhibit free
Most members of this historical society are descendants of Continental Army or Navy officers. Its name derives from "Cincinnatus" — an ancient Roman farmer who, like George Washington, left his plow to lead an army and later declined autocratic leadership of the country. Portraits and artifacts of the Society's members are displayed at its Pennsylvania headquarters.
321 S. 4th Street (Physick House)
Thur-Sat: 12-5; Sun 1-5; Last tours at 4
Jan & Feb: by appointment only
Future Site to Visit
The museum is not open yet, but you can visit its parent organization, the American Revolution Center, by going online to www.museumoftheamericanrevolution.org.