In the steamy summer of 1776, the Founding Fathers hammered out the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. The city’s ties to those heated times make summer the perfect time to step into the cool confines of the Museum of the American Revolution and relive the tumultuous times of the American Revolution.
In the heart of Philly
Only two years after it opened, the museum has become known as the place to begin a visit to Philadelphia. Two blocks from the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and other historic sites, the museum has already won awards for preservation efforts, exhibitions and architecture.
Summer brings special programs
Because summer brings many travelers to Philadelphia, the museum has added special events and programs, beginning with discounts for veterans on Memorial Day and ending in late August with a look at canines in Colonial times.
Some programs get visitors engaged. They might help make a flag or share their thoughts about democracy. Others take them outside the museum’s red-brick walls on walking tours or to view outdoor displays. Two All-American holidays, Flag Day and July 4th, have inspired special exhibitions.
Here’s a look at summer at the Museum of the American Revolution:
See 13-star flags
Guests will see stars June 14 through July 14 as the museum hosts the largest-ever exhibition of 13-star flags, “A New Constellation: A Collection of Historic 13-Star Flags.” Owned by one private collector, the flags will be a colorful backdrop for a hands-on activity space where visitors can try on Revolutionary-era clothing, handle replica objects, and design their own flag.
The flags date from 1800 to 1910 and their varied configurations of 13 stars represent the 13 original colonies. What better way to mark Flag Day, June 14?
Share democratic ideals
A flag is also the focus of a Fourth of July celebration on the museum’s outdoor plaza from June 29 through July 7. Visitors and passersby will be asked to #BeTheRevolution by describing how they are inspired by the ideals of the American Revolution. They can write their messages on ribbons and add them to a giant American flag installation on the plaza.
“We are aiming for 10,000 ribbons,” said Dr. Elizabeth Grant, the museum’s director of learning and engagement “It is a good reminder that we have a role in preserving the democratic republic we live in.”
A dog-gone conclusion
The super-hot August days that mark summer’s end have inspired an educational program about the role of canines in the Colonies. “We are developing a playful program about the dogs of the Revolution,” said Grant. George Washington is one of the famous dog owners who’ll be discussed.
Any time of year, groups can schedule a 30-minute talk by one of more than 30 experts. Two popular topics are Philadelphia: A Revolutionary City and Archaeology at the Museum of the American Revolution, where visitors see artifacts unearthed during digs at the site where the museum now stands. Among them are pieces of a punch bowl that would have been passed around at celebrations.
Given the hit that the musical Hamilton has become, many will be interested in one-hour Hamilton Walking Tours of the historic Old City neighborhood offered on Saturdays.
Twice a week, groups can visit before crowds arrive during a one-hour Early Access Guided Tours, which start at 9.
Museum of the American Revolution