Local Arrangements: Historians and Philadelphia
For the 120th Annual Meeting, Andrew Lees, Rutgers University at Camden, chair; Kate Wilson, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, co-chair; and members of the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) will provide Association members with detailed information to make their Philadelphia visit thoroughly enjoyable. LAC members are writing articles on the city and the region for the October, November, and December issues of Perspectives, including guides to museums, points of interests, and restaurants in the area. Look for a pull-out annual meeting guide in the December issue of Perspectives, and bring it with you, as it will contain valuable information.
What Philadelphia Has to Offer
Philadelphia is the second-largest city on the East Coast and ranks fifth in the nation, with a population of 5.8 million. The city is just 100 miles south of New York and 133 miles north of Washington, D.C. Thanks to William Penn, a logical grid pattern for the streets makes Philadelphia easy to navigate. Main thoroughfares of Market Street, running east-west, and Broad Street, running north-south, meet at the central hub of City Hall and form four quadrants around it. Regions include the Parkway Museums, Convention Center, Washington Square, and Rittenhouse Square districts. Old City and Society Hill-Waterfront are Philadelphia's oldest areas. The AHA's meeting hotels and many of the primary tourist destinations are located in downtown (called "Center City") Philadelphia.
- Click here for a map of the AHA meeting hotels and area.
- For a map of Center City Philadelphia, click here.
Introduction to the City
Visitors who want to do some advance planning for their stay can explore various aspects of the city and the region at a number of web sites, including its hotels, points of interest, and cultural institutions. For a general tourist introduction to the city, visit the web site of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, clicking on "Plan Your Visit " for the Philadelphia Trip Planner (Vacation Guide) for a 58-page booklet of useful information. It contains maps, directions, background information, and suggested itineraries and tours. All information in the Trip Planner can also be found throughout the web site. The site also has an extensive "Events Calendar" and a "Virtual Brochure Rack" with easily downloadable information on the Philadelphia area and its attractions.
The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau provides a free copy of its Visitor's Guide upon request. It has up-to-date information about attractions, shopping, restaurants, hotels, and sports. Visit the web site to submit a request form.
The Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, launched the first-ever travel web site in the nation designed specifically to attract people of color to a particular travel destination. Use the site's comprehensive, multicultural visitors guide to "Share the Heritage" of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.
The Center City District is a business improvement district, encompassing 120 blocks and more than 2,100 properties in downtown Philadelphia. The district's site offers extensive information on Center City's arts and culture, dining, entertainment, and shopping.
Philadelphia's daily newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, are online at http://www.philly.com and provide current information on city museums, galleries, exhibits, concerts, and other events.
Tours of the City
Once in Philadelphia, the Independence Visitor Center (800-537-7676, 215-965-7676; One North Independence Mall West, 6th and Market Streets across from the Liberty Bell) is the primary point of orientation for Independence National Historical Park and the city of Philadelphia. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. The center houses many trip planning exhibits and offers visitor amenities, including easy on-site ticketing for area attractions, multilingual concierge staff, comprehensive daily listing of area events, attraction displays and regional maps, convenient underground parking, restroom facilities, handicap accessibility, and free wireless Internet access.
The AudioWalk™ and Tour is available for rent at the Visitor Center. It offers a self-guided walking tour of historic Philadelphia. The 74-minute narration includes a lightweight CD player and a detailed map that includes 20 historic sites and 64 narrated segments.
Charges are $10 for one person, $14 for two people, $16 for three people, and $20 for four people.
The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia is a three-mile outdoor journey featuring more than 30 historical sites in the Independence Mall area. No reservations are required; however, individual site hours, fees, and availability may vary. To take the walking tour, pick up a free brochure at the Independence Visitor Center, National Constitution Center, area hotels, and other historic attractions in the Independence Mall area.
If you prefer to ride rather than walk, Big Bus Tour has 20 stops throughout the city including Old City, Society Hill, Penn's Landing, Independence Mall, the Art Museum, and the Zoo. Tickets permit reboarding privileges for 24 hours from time of first usage. Buses seat 40 passengers on the top deck and 30 on the lower deck. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with buses departing every half hour. Charges are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors 55 and older, $15 for children 412.
Additionally, visitors can explore other tour options at the Visitor Center such as the 76 Carriage Company Tour, the Mural Arts Tour, Philadelphia Trolley Works, Quest for Freedom: The Underground Railroad Walking Tour, and various neighborhood tours.
If you prefer visiting the city's attractions on your own and setting your own schedule, consider a visitor's pass. With CityPass visitors can save 50 percent on admission fees and avoid ticket lines for six of the city's top attractions: National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Trolley Tour, Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia Zoo, Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Independence Seaport Museum. The package price is $39.50 for adults and $24 for children 311. Visitors have nine days to visit each attraction (once) beginning with the day of first use of the CityPass. They can be purchased at any of the Philadelphia attractions or online. Visitors present the CityPass at each attraction. The agent removes that attraction's ticketthey are void if removed by anyone else.
The Philadelphia Pass provides admission and many special offers to Philadelphia's top destinations. A one-day pass costs $39 and includes admission to 20 top attractions, an 80-page comprehensive guidebook, a detailed souvenir guidebook and map, and discounts at 11 restaurants. Two-, three-, and five-day passes are also available. In addition to the day and night attractions, the Philadelphia Pass provides discounts on shopping, sporting events, tours, and dining throughout the city. Passes can be purchased online or by calling 888-567-7277.
Several Philadelphia based organizations created a consortium in 2000 to mark the 300-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth (17062006). Major initiatives include:
- Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World: a traveling exhibition featuring more than 250 original Franklin artifacts as well as interactive installations to demonstrate and explore Franklin's life, character, and achievements. The exhibit makes its world debut in Philadelphia's National Constitution Center from December 15, 2005, through April 30, 2006. Other venues in 200608 include St. Louis, Houston, Denver, Atlanta, and Paris.
- Ben Franklin 300 Philadelphia: a region-wide celebration, complete with Ben-themed exhibitions, concerts, tours, special events and offers. Check the web site for events scheduled during the AHA's annual meeting dates.
- Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World: a lavish exhibition catalog to be published by Yale University Press in fall 2005. It will feature new essays from leading Franklin scholars.
- The Frankliniana Database: a permanent electronic record of the surviving objects owned or used by Franklin, to include Franklin images created during his lifetime. To be available on the web site beginning fall 2005. Additional resources on the web site include downloadable lesson plans at three grade levels, an image bank, timelines, bibliographies, fact sheets, and links to other useful Franklin sites.
The Tercentenary is sponsoring two sessions on the AHA program: "Benjamin Franklin at 300: Three New Works" (Session 140) will be presented on Saturday, January 7, 2:304:30 p.m., at the National Constitution Center. Richard R. Beeman, University of Pennsylvania, will chair. Authors Walter Isaacson (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life), Gordon S. Wood (The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin), and Stacy Schiff (A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America) will discuss their works. On Sunday, January 8, 8:3010:30 a.m. in the Loews' Regency Ballroom Section A, a roundtable on "Benjamin Franklin at 300: Printer, Scientist, and Promoter of American Liberties" (Session 167) will feature discussions by James Green, Library Company of Philadelphia; E. Philip Krider, University of Arizona; and Ellen R. Cohn, Yale University. J. A. Leo Lemay, University of Delaware, will chair the session.
Tours Organized by the Local Arrangements Committee
The Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) has organized the following tours. Advance registration is highly recommended. Advance registration will be open November 1 through December 15, 2005. Those interested in registering for a tour should e-mail LAC staff assistant Alan Allport, include the number and name of the tour in the subject line of the e-mail.
Individuals who wish to join a tour but have not registered in advance can check at the AHA information desk on Level Five at the Marriott up to 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure of the tour to see if space is still available. Additional information about these tours and recommended commercial tours of the city and neighboring areas will appear in fall issues of Perspectives.
All tours convene in the Marriott's Room 310 unless otherwise indicated. Individuals should gather at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the tour.
Tour 1: Behind the Scenes at Independence National Historic Park
Date, time: Thursday, January 5, 2:004:00 p.m.
Meeting site: The Independence Living History Center on Third Street between Chestnut and Walnut Street at 2:00 p.m., or join a walking group leaving the Marriott's Room 310 at 1:30 p.m.
Description: Spend an afternoon exploring new interpretations at Independence National Historic Park with research and curatorial staff. Venture behind the scenes of the Todd House and Bishop White House, two 18th-century houses that present contrasts in household technology, socio-economic status, and lifestyles, demonstrating the complexities of urban life during the early republic. Talk with the curatorial staff about a new interpretation of the Todd House set at the time of the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic, which devastated the Todd family and left Dolley Todd (later Dolley Madison) a widow. (Limit: 20 people. No fee for this tour.)
directions: Walk east on Market Street to Third Street. Walk one block south on Third Street to Chestnut Street where the Independence Living History Center is located on the southeast corner of the intersection. There are also eastbound buses with the destination "Penn's Landing" on either Market or Chestnut Streets.
Tour 2: Curator's Tour of "Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World"
Date, time: Friday, January 6, 9:0011:00 a.m.
Meeting site: National Constitution Center entrance at 8:50 a.m., or join a walking group leaving the Marriott's Room 310 at 8:40 a.m.
Description: Enjoy a private tour of the new exhibit "Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," at the National Constitution Center, with Page Talbott, the exhibit's Chief Curator. The multimedia exhibit conveys the original genius, wit, and imagination of Ben Franklin through a series of interactive exhibit features combined with the largest collection of original Franklin materials ever assembled. (Fee: $8.50 per person, collected at the door.)
Tour 3: Behind the Scenes at the Academy of Natural Sciences
Date, time: Friday, January 6, 2:004:00 p.m.
Meeting site: Marriott's Room 310 at 1:30 p.m. for a bus to the academy.
Description: The oldest natural sciences institution in the Western Hemisphere, the academy was founded in 1812 "for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning." The academy's collection embodies the historical development of the sciences and Americans' changing understandings of their natural environment. Go behind the scenes with academy curators to explore natural history collections dating back to the 16th century, including Lewis and Clark's specimens, Thomas Jefferson's fossil collections, and early natural history books. (Limit: 15 people. Fee: $10 per person. Price Reduction.)
Tour 4: Philadelphia's Civil Rights Struggle
Date, time: Saturday, January 7, 10:00 a.m.1:00 p.m.
Meeting site: Marriott's Room 310 at 9:45 a.m. for the trolley.
Description: Join V. Chapman-Smith, regional administrator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the National Archives and Records Administration, for an exploration of the civil rights history of North Philadelphia, which was the epicenter of Philadelphia's civil rights struggle. Visit Girard College and learn about dramatic protests that brought about the integration of this school that once only admitted white boys. Take in the incredible murals at the Church of the Advocate and celebrate the leadership of local civil rights icons. Enjoy lunch with community members at the church at the conclusion of the tour. (Limit: 30 people. Fee: $15 per person, lunch included.)
Tour 5: Eastern State Penitentiary Tour
Date, time: Saturday, January 7, 1:303:30 p.m.
Meeting site: Marriott's Room 310 at 1:00 p.m. for a bus to the penitentiary.
Description: Visit the 19th-century prison whose inmates included notorious criminals such as Al Capone. Eastern State opened in 1829 as part of a controversial movement to change the behavior of inmates through "confinement in solitude with labor," otherwise known as the "Pennsylvania System." It is estimated that more than 300 prisons worldwide are based on the penitentiary's radial, panopticon floor plan. After 142 years of consecutive use, Eastern State Penitentiary was completely abandoned in 1971, stabilized and opened for tours in the 1990s, and featured in the film, 12 Monkeys. Tour participants should bear in mind that the Eastern State Penitentiary is an unheated ruin, so bundle up if it's cold and wear walking shoes! (Fee: $7.50 per person.)
Philadelphia Points of Interest
The following information about points of interest in Philadelphia is listed alphabetically and is compiled from the web sites indicated.
Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Ben Franklin Parkway. Hours: 10:00 a.m.4:30 p.m. MondayFriday, 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.
SaturdaySunday. Admission: $10 adult, $8 children 312, $8.25 senior and military, free for children under 3; college students $1 discount with valid ID. Founded in 1812, the academy is the oldest continually operating museum of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. It sponsored some of the seminal explorations for American wildlife and fossils, and by the early 1900s, expanded those explorations to Africa, Asia, and the Antarctic. In addition to Dinosaur Hall, one of the leading permanent exhibits on paleontology in the country, the attractions include a world-class collection of animal habitat dioramas, a Live Animal Center, and the region's largest indoor exhibit of live tropical butterflies.
African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street. Hours: 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. TuesdaySaturday, 12:005:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $8 adults, $6 children, senior, students, and physically challenged. Founded in 1976 as the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum in celebration of the nation's Bicentennial, the museum was the first institution funded and built by a major municipality to preserve, interpret, and exhibit the heritage of African Americans. The museum currently houses four galleries and an auditorium, each offering exhibitions anchored by one of the museum's three dominant themes: the African Diaspora, the Philadelphia Story, and the Contemporary Narrative.
Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, 15 South 7th Street. Hours: 1:005:00 p.m. WednesdaySunday. Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors 65 and older, $3 youth 1317, free for children 12 and under. Founded more than 60 years ago as the city's history museum, the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia provides visitors with many distinct and creative opportunities to learn about the city. Experience Philadelphia! is on permanent exhibition, and is anchored by a 40-by-40-foot Rand McNally map of the region. The Real Thing and Why It Matters is on exhibit though March 19, 2006. Objects from the museum's Philadelphia history collection are showcased with commentary by a group of Philadelphia citizens about their importance today.
City Hall, Broad and Market Streets. Directly in the heart of Philadelphia, on Center Square, this National Historic Landmark is the geographical center of William Penn's original plan for Philadelphia. Known today as Penn Square, it is the home of Philadelphia's City Hall. An example of French Second-Empire Architectural style, it is the tallest and largest masonry building in the world and features a 37-foot bronze statue of Penn and 250 other sculptures created for the interior and exterior of the building. The tower has an observation deck open to the public and some of the interior can also be visited. Visitors should go to the City Hall Tour Information Center Room 121 at the East City Hall Entrance for information and tickets.
Cliveden House, 6401 Germantown Avenue. Closed to the public, but AHA members may arrange a tour by e-mailing, email@example.com, or calling, (215) 848-1777, in advance. Cliveden, a National Trust for Historic Preservation site, is one of the nation's premiere historic sites and is located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia's Historic Northwest. The property is the scene of the annual reenactment of The Battle of Germantown (October 1777), and home to the descendants of the original owner until 1972. Visitors will see original furnishings and decorative arts, including examples of colonial Philadelphia craftsmanship by James Reynolds, Jonathan Gostelowe, and Thomas Affleck.
Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia, 1805 Pine Street. Hours: 11:00 a.m.4:30 p.m. ThursdaySaturday. Admission: $5 adults, $4 seniors 62 and older, $3 students with valid ID, $2 children 312, free for children under age 3. The museum is known for its research facilitiesmore than 12,000 volumes, 100 linear feet of archival/manuscript material, more than 100 reels of microfilm, and nearly 5,000 photographsthe facility is one of the most comprehensive Civil War libraries in the country. The museum displays artifacts, uniforms, flags, weapons, and period art and tells of Philadelphia's role in the Civil War.
Franklin Institute Science Museum, 222 North 20th Street. Hours: 9:30 a.m.5:00 p.m. SundaySaturday. Admission: $13.75 adults, $11 children 411 and seniors 62 and older. The museum offers a Science Center with three floors of hands-on exhibits and the Fels Planetarium, the Mandell Center with two floors of innovative science exhibits, the Tuttleman IMAX Theater with shows daily, and additional science demonstrations and daily programs throughout the museum, including the Liquid Air Show, It's Electric! Show, Space Survival, Ben's Curiosity Show.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street. Library hours: 12:305:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 12:308:30 p.m. Wednesday. Library admission: $6 nonmembers, $3 students with current student identification card. Reservations are not required to use the services of the library. However, all researchers are asked to sign in on a daily basis. First-time visitors are asked to complete a registration form and present a current photographic identification. Researchers are asked to indicate their address and research interest, and acknowledge an understanding of society guidelines governing the use of society collections.
Founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States. The society's building, listed on the City of Philadelphia's Register of Historical Places, houses some 600,000 printed items and over 19 million manuscript and graphic items. The society is one of the largest family history libraries in the nation, has preeminent printed collections on Pennsylvania and regional history, and offers superb manuscript collections renowned for their strength in 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century history. With the addition of the holdings of The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in 2002, the society has become a chief center for the documentation and study of the ethnic communities and immigrant experiences shared by people whose American history began more recentlybetween the late 19th century and our own times.
Independence National Historical Park, 313 Walnut Street. Many of the city'sand the nation'smost famous sights are preserved in the downtown's Independence National Historical Park. The following is a list of park sites open to the public: Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Great Essentials Exhibit, Congress Hall, Old City Hall, Second Bank of the U.S., New Hall Military Museum, Carpenters Hall, Franklin Court, Christ Church, Declaration House, National Constitution Center, Independence Center, Free Quaker Meeting House, and Philosophical Hall. Several of these sites are highlighted below.
Security: The Liberty Bell Pavilion, Independence Hall, Old City Hall, Congress Hall, and the Great Essentials Exhibit are all within a secured area of the park. Visitors must access these sites through the security entrance located along the west side of 5th Street, between Chestnut and Market Streets. The security entrance to these sites opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 4:45 p.m.
Independence Hall, Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Visitors are admitted free of charge by tour only, with tours beginning in the East Wing. No reservations are accepted, and all tours are operated on a first come, first served basis. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed here. The building, inside and out, has been restored whenever possible to its original late-18th century appearance. Most of the furnishing are period pieces.
Historic Christ Church and Burial Ground, Second Street above Market. Christ Church visiting hours: 9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. MondaySaturday, 12:305:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, but there is a suggested donation of $2 for adults and $1 for students to help maintain the church. Burial Ground visiting hours: 10:00 a.m.4:00 p.m. MondaySaturday, 12:004:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $2 adults, $1 students. The burial ground is the final resting place of 1,400 men and women, including five signers of the Declaration of Independence, the founders of the American Navy, and America's early medical pioneersmost notably Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Benjamin Rush, and Commodore William Bainbridge.
Liberty Bell Center, Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets. The famous cracked bell occupies a separate pavilion at Independence Mall and can be visited free of charge. Ordered in 1751 by the Pennsylvania Assembly, the bell was cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London and arrived in Philadelphia in September 1752. Six months later the bell was hung in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall). The bell cracked the first time it rang. Although recast twice, a crack started to appear again somewhere in the first half of the 19th century but was repaired. The current crack dates from 1846 when the bell rang in honor of the birthday of George Washington. In 1852 the bell was taken down from the steeple and put on display in the Declaration Chamber in Independence Hall. In 2003 the bell moved to the Liberty Bell Center, a modern pavilion at the Independence National Historical Park.
National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street on Independence Mall. Hours: 9:30 a.m.5:00 p.m. SundayFriday, 9:30 a.m.6:00 p.m. Saturday. Admission: $9 adults, $7 children 412 and seniors 62 and older, free for children under 4, college students with ID, and active military. The National Constitution Center is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and its relevance to Americans' daily lives. Opened on July 4, 2003, the museum tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photography, text, sculpture, and artifacts, and features an award-winning theatrical performance, "Freedom Rising."
Philosophical Hall, American Philosophical Society, 105 South 5th Street. On view are exhibitions that explore the intersections of history, art, and science, with a focus on the early days of Philadelphia and the nation. The Hall is the headquarters of the American Philosophical Society, which was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743 to "promote useful knowledge among the British plantations in America."
Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard and Walnut Street. Hours: 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. daily. Admission: $9 adults, $6 children 312, $8 seniors 65 and older and students with valid school ID. The museum is dedicated to exploring the maritime history of the Delaware River, Bay, and tributaries. It offers hands-on exhibits, historic ship tours, a working boat shop, and educational programs that lead visitors on a journey through the history and traditions of the maritime past.
Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street. Reading Room and Exhibition Gallery hours: 9:00 a.m.4:45 p.m. weekdays, Print Room by appointment only. The library is a nonprofit independent research library with collections documenting every aspect of the history and background of American culture from the colonial period to the end of the 19th century. Its holdings number more than 500,000 books, over 75,000 graphics, and 160,000 manuscripts. Benjamin Franklin and 50 other Philadelphians founded the library in 1731 as a subscription library; it is the only major colonial American library that survives virtually intact. As Franklin and his friends did 274 years ago, Library Company memberships may still be purchased.
National Archives and Records Administration-Mid Atlantic Region (215-606-0100), 900 Market Street (ground level of the Nix Federal Building) with entrance on Chestnut Street between 9th and 10th Streets. No admission fee. Hours: 8:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. MondayFriday. The Mid Atlantic Region archives facility is the depository for the original archival records generated by the federal government in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The records date from the 1789s to 1980s. Historical records, as well as select court bankruptcy records, are open to the public at regional locations. To use archival records, visitors must present a NARA researcher identification card. Applicants must apply in person and show official identification with a photograph, such as a driver's license, passport, school, or business ID. Applicants complete a form providing their name, address, telephone number, and a brief description of their research. NARA researcher ID cards are valid for 1 year.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 N. Broad Street. Hours: 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. TuesdaySaturday, 11:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors 62 and older and students with valid ID, $10 children 518, free for children under 5. Tours are given at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on weekdays, and noon and 1:00 p.m. on weekends. Tours are free with admission. Founded in 1805, the academy has been home to America's artists for 200 years. The academy collects and exhibits the work of distinguished American artists. The school will grow from nearly 300 to 400 full-time students by the 200708 academic year with outreach programs that serve an additional 16,000 children and adults annually.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Hours: 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. TuesdaySunday, Friday until 8:45 p.m. Admission: $12 adults, $9 seniors 62 and older, $8 students with ID and youth 1318, free for children under 12; voluntary contributions on Sunday. Known as the Parthenon on the Parkway (its grand front staircase was made famous by the film Rocky), this temple of art houses more than 300,000 objects in a half-million square feet of space. The collection has depth in Asian and Near East art, works from a millennium of European history, and a significant collection of Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings. Some of the 200 galleries include complete historic sites such as a Buddhist temple. Its paintings collection includes works from renowned artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Rubens, and Renoir.
Please Touch Museum, 210 North 21st Street. Hours: 9:00 a.m.4:30 p.m. daily. Admission: $9.95 adults and children, free for children under age one. Please Touch Museum is a hands-on museum for children ages one to seven where adults and children can learn and explore together. Founded in 1976 by a group of artists, educators, and parents, the founders envisioned an educational, cultural, and public service institution; a new mix of museum, art gallery, library, and community center; a place to learn, play, study, enjoy, and grow. The museum has a number of permanent exhibitions including Move It, which is all about transportation; Studio PTM, a child-size television studio; and SuperMarket Science, which lets kids take over the food preparation from shopping (or selling) in a child-size grocery store to whipping up culinary masterpieces in the kitchen.
Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch Streets. Hours: 8:00 a.m.6:00 p.m. MondaySaturday. Many consider the Reading Terminal Market one the best farmers markets in the United States, blending state-of-the-art systems technology without sacrificing its historical integrity. It's not only a popular hometown attraction but also is the most popular Philadelphia tourist destination after the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. More than 80 merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, flowers, baked goods, crafts, books, and clothing, as well as hard-to-find specialties and ethnic foods. Note that many of the market's restaurants close after 3:00 p.m.
Rosenbach Museum & Library, 2008 DeLancey Place. Hours: 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and SaturdaySunday; 10:00 a.m.8:00 p.m. Wednesday. Admission: $8 adults, $5 students and seniors, free for children under 5. The Rosenbach Museum & Library was the home of two brothers who were legendary dealers and collectors of rare books and manuscripts and the fine and decorative arts. Founded in 1954 to preserve the two brothers' personal collections and company archive, the Rosenbach is home to one of the nation's great collections of rare books and manuscripts, as well as a beautiful, historic townhouse filled with fine art and antiques. The eclectic treasures include manuscripts such as James Joyce's Ulysses, Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers, and Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim; the world's largest collection of portrait miniatures painted in oil on metal; and more than 10,000 drawings and manuscripts by acclaimed children's book author/illustrator Maurice Sendak.
Society Hill. This neighborhood, loosely defined as the area between Walnut, Lombard, Front, and 8th Streets, contains the largest concentration of original 18th- and early 19th-century architecture of any place in the United States. The district is named after the 18th century Society of Free Traders, which had its offices at Front Street on the hill above Dock Creek. Located close to both the river and Philadelphia's civic buildings including Independence Hall, the neighborhood soon became one of the city's most popular areas. Several market halls, taverns, and churches were built alongside brick houses of Philadelphia's affluent citizens. Today, Society Hill contains many interesting historic buildings, such as the Society Hill Synagogue and St. Peter's Church.
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, 530 North 7th Street, the northwest corner 7th and Spring Garden Streets. Hours: 9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. WednesdaySunday. Admission: Free. Poe's six years in Philadelphia, 183844, were his most productive. Not only did Poe edit and provide critical reviews for very successful magazines, but he also invented the modern detective story. While in Philadelphia, Poe penned such classics as "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and the poems "The Haunted Palace" and "To Helen." During these years, Poe went from the high of being a popular lecturer to the despair of learning that his wife Virginia was ill with tuberculosis. The brief and tragic life of the author, his times, and literary legacy are interpreted in the building that once sheltered Poe and his family.
Rodin Museum, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street. Hours: 10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m. TuesdaySunday. Admission: $3 per person suggested contribution. The Rodin Museum was the gift of movie theater mogul Jules E. Mastbaum to the city of Philadelphia. He assembled the largest collection of Auguste Rodin's (18401917) works outside Paris, including bronze castings, plaster studies, drawings, prints, letters, and books. The most famous of Rodin's works, The Thinker (1880), can be seen outside the museum, in the front yard. Entering the museum building, visitors pass through the Gates of Hell (1890). Inside the museum are several rooms with many more of the artist's works on display, including The Kiss (1886), Eternal Springtime (1884), and Burghers of Calais, a monument commissioned in 1884 by the City of Calais.
United States Mint, 151 North Independence Mall East. Hours: 9:00 a.m.3:00 p.m. MondayFriday. For same-day tours, the general public may line up at the mint's visitor entrance, located on 5th Street between Arch and Race streets. Tours are offered on a first come, first served basis pending availability. Adults will be asked to provide government-issued photo identification for security purposes. If the Department of Homeland Security level is elevated to Code Orange, the mint will be closed to the public unless otherwise noted.
Philadelphia Zoo, 34th Street and Girard Avenue. Hours: 9:30 a.m.4:00 p.m. daily. Admission: $16.95 adult, $13.95 children 211, free for children under 2. America's first zoo is one of the Philadelphia region's leading family attractions, welcoming more than a million visitors a year. It has more than 1,600 rare and exotic animals from around the world, 42 acres of picturesque Victorian gardens, and outstanding art and historical architecture. It has a primate reserve, a rare animal conservation center, a reptile and amphibian house, and a carnivore kingdom, which has the first giant otters exhibited in the United States. Among the animals on permanent display are snow leopards, red pandas, and clouded leopards. The zoo offers hundreds of educational programs and family workshops, special public events, ecotourism travel opportunities, and ADOPT-an-animal programs.