In Philadelphia, See History in a Whole New Light

PHILADELPHIA, June, 2013 – Philadelphia is brimming with historical riches, and the sites and attractions that show off the city’s historic side are constantly evolving to create richer experiences for modern-day visitors. This year brings upgrades, expansions and exhibitions designed to shine a new light on Philadelphia’s well-established historical attractions.

Ben Franklin

Renovated & Renewed:

• The Pearl S. Buck Museum reopens after the completion of its eight-year interior restoration project on June 26, which would have been the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer’s 121st birthday. Tours of the national historic landmark home feature increased access to collections, including clothes that she wore, tableware and linens that dressed her kitchen table and her personal phonograph collection. 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, (215) 249-0100,

• After an18-month revitalization, the new Benjamin Franklin Museum opens late summer with a focus on the life, times and legacy of the seminal statesman and inventor. The museum in Franklin Court, the site of Franklin’s private residence, breaks out thematically according to Franklin’s greatest personal traits and features personal artifacts, computer animations and interactive displays covering his public and private life in Philadelphia. 314-322 Market Street, (215) 965-2305,

• In late autumn, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will unveil a $5.7 million renovation project that improves the visitor experience in the century-old building. New to the space: digital information screens in the lobby and new computer stations, microfilm readers and display cases in the Reference Room. As a way to preserve and present its collection well into the next century, the society is also digitizing its materials and upgrading the building’s façade and many of its internal control features. 1300 Locust Street, (215) 732-6200,

• The retelling of the city’s history is modern and fresh at the newly renovated Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent. Drawing on a collection of more than 100,000 items, the museum exhibits such iconic Philly items as George Washington’s writing desk from the 1790s and Joe Frazier’s boxing gloves from the 1970s. The museum adds in rotating exhibitions—currently on beer and baseball—to even further captivate visitors. The Philadelphia History Museum also incorporates technology unlike most others: iPads and computer monitors invite visitors to tease out the information that most interests them, and video segments and interviews add depth to the gallery offerings. In the Faces to Facebook gallery, guests can submit digital portraits that may end up on the museum’s website or in the gallery itself. 15 S. 7th Street, (215) 685-4830,

Exciting Exhibitions:

• Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River launches the Independence Seaport Museum’s “River of Freedom” series with an exploration of the concept of freedom through the lens of the African experience along the Delaware. PBS storyteller Tukufu Zuberi narrates the journey through recently uncovered artifacts from the museum’s collection, gripping first-person accounts and interactive elements, including an ongoing social media discussion encouraged at various points of the exhibition. May 4 through 2015. Penn’s Landing, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-8655,

• At the Elfreth’s Alley Museum, visitors can learn about how working-class Americans stretched their dollars in the exhibit Making Ends Meet: 300 Years of Life on Elfreth’s Alley. The display, located in a historic home on the nation’s oldest residential street, includes archeological items recently unearthed on site. Through December. 124 Elfreth’s Alley, (215) 574-0560,

• Travel back to 1968 at the National Constitution Center with an immersive exhibition focused on one of America’s most colorful, chaotic and culture-shifting years. Through a lens that takes in the Vietnam War, civil rights marches and women’s liberation, The 1968 Exhibit offers 12 display areas corresponding to the months of the year—as well as three lounge spaces inviting playful interaction with 1968’s most enduring and influential music, movies, fashions and more. June 14-September 2. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700,

• This summer, the National Museum of American Jewish History displays The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats, the first major exhibition in the U.S. to pay tribute to the award-winning children’s author/illustrator. Keats broke race barriers when he became the first artist to feature an African-American protagonist in a modern full-color kids’ book. July 19-October 20. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811,

• The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial is most associated with her service during World War II, but she was also the only battleship to proudly serve during the Vietnam War, the subject of the new Vietnam War exhibit opening this summer. Guests will see artifacts from the Vietnam War, as well as photos of the Battleship during her service in Vietnam. Visitors can also come aboard to check out the new Turret II Experience and learn how the crew loaded, plotted and fired the legendary 16-inch guns. Tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ, (856) 966-1652,

• On view at the Betsy Ross House, Flags to Riches: The Stories of Rebecca Franks and Betsy Ross examines the two sides of the American Revolution through the eyes of middle-class Quaker seamstress Betsy Ross and socialite and loyalist Rebecca Franks. Outside of the exhibit, visitors can partake in free hands-on activities like a children’s naturalization ceremony and colonial chocolate making. Through 2013. 239 Arch Street, (215) 629-4026,

• Penn Museum’s In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies is part exhibition and part working lab. The glass-enclosed conservation lab enables visitors to see conservators working on Egyptian funerary artifacts, including ancient coffins, portraits and mummies. The lab also includes a changing exhibition space where visitors can read about the conservation plan for ancient Egyptian art and artifacts, see objects before and after they are conserved and, twice daily, ask questions of the conservator on duty. Through August 2014. Also at the museum: Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster, a collection of 33 war posters from Tukufu Zuberi’s personal collection that offers his perspective on more than 200 years of African and African-American military history by examining the use of African people in these beautiful but often racist war posters. June 2-March 2. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000,


The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit

or, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

Philadelphia’s beloved Benjamin Franklin (played here by Ralph Archbold) is considered one of the greatest public figures in the history of the United States. He arrived in Philadelphia as a runaway apprentice from Boston in 1723, and for nearly 70 years, he served the country as a printer, scientist, journalist, lawmaker, inventor, businessman and philosopher. Here, Ben is standing along Elfreth’s Alley, the nation’s oldest continuously occupied residential block. Credit: Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

June 20, 2013 · admin · Comments Closed
Posted in: United States East