Philly 360° Legacy: Historic Sites and Cultural Attractions

first_img Johnson House Historic Site 6306 Germantown Avenue (Historic Germantown)  | (215) 438-1768  The Johnson House Historic Site is a certified station stop on the Underground Railroad, where archaeologists recently discovered an attic trap door that hid freedom seekers. Visitors can see the door and other unique features of the house during guided tours. Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive (Fairmount Park) | (215) 878-8844  With stunning views of the city skyline, the mansion, located atop Belmont Plateau, was the home of well-known abolitionist and early federal Judge Richard Peters. The Women’s Heritage Society offers docent-led and       self-guided tours of the museum Tuesday through Friday and on weekends by appointment. Insider Fact: Belmont Plateau, referenced in “Summertime” by Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, is also featured in the duo’s music video. Liberty Bell Center6th & Market Streets (Historic District)  | (800) 537-7676 The Liberty Bell was not only used for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, but in the 1800s, it also became a symbol of the anti-slavery movement. The Bell continues to be used as an international symbol of freedom today. Paul Robeson House 4949-4951 Walnut Street | (215) 747-4675  Renaissance man Paul Robeson was an actor, orator, activist, lawyer, author, linguist, athlete, singer, scholar and human rights activist. Tour the West Philadelphia home where he lived during the last 10 years of his life. The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation6th & Market Streets (Historic District) Just steps from the Liberty Bell, the President’s House deals with the paradox of slavery and freedom and commemorates the lives of the nine enslaved Africans who lived and worked in the first executive mansion when George Washington was president. The innovative outdoor site features video, original archaeology and glass interpretive panels, all telling different perspectives of this complex and powerful story. Deschler-Morris House The Germantown White House 5442 Germantown Avenue | (215) 597-7130  While many people look to Washington D.C. as the original White House, those in the know know that Philadelphia is home to the oldest presidential residence in the United States.  The Deschler-Morris House was the summer home of President George Washington and after an extensive renovation, now features multimedia components that allow visitors to get a glimpse into the private life of the nation’s first commander-in-chief. Historic Philadelphia Legacy SitesThe African American Museum in Philadelphia701 Arch Street  | (215) 574-0380 The perfect starting point for your African-American tour, the museum invites visitors to experience face-to-face encounters with the bold and fearless people who helped form our nation through its acclaimed core exhibit Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876. The exhibition provides a multimedia historical overview of the African-American story with videos, a detailed, interactive timeline and more.  Every month, the museum features events like art exhibitions, storytelling, historical character interpretations, film series and musical celebrations, almost all of which are free with admission.Insider Tip: Check out special programming during Kwanzaa (December-January), Martin Luther King’s Birthday (January) and Black History Month (February) Insider Tips & Facts Insider tip: Independence Visitor CenterOffering tickets to Independence Hall (free, timed tickets), Mural Arts tours, the National Constitution Center and various city tours and attractions, the Independence Visitor Center is a convenient stop at any point during your stay (especially the beginning part of your visit), located at 6th & Market Streets. In addition to two cafés, the Center features revolving exhibitions, free short movies, a gift shop and free wireless internet access. Insider tip: President Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” While in Historic Philadelphia, stop by the National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street) and look for President Barack Obama’s signed copy of his famous speech on race, “A More Perfect Union.” Insider tip: Trace Your Genealogy Trace your genealogy at The National Archives at Philadelphia (900 Market Street, entrance on Chestnut Street between 9th & 10th Streets)—and on select Wednesdays, take part in their genealogy workshops between 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. Experience free exhibits exploring how “We, the people” have worked to make the American democracy apply to everyone, and connect to your family’s story.             Audacious Freedom exhibition at the African American Museum in Philadelphia(Photo by. G. Widman for GPTMC) The African Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology 3260 South Street | (215) 898-4000 The African gallery here is probably the closest you’ll come to visiting an entire continent in one day. Materials on display come from a collection that includes more than 11,000 items from throughout the vast land of Africa. The museum’s annual Celebration of African Cultures and its extensive ancient Egyptian galleries and programs always draw a crowd. Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches Throughout Historic Philadelphia, begin at the Independence Visitor Center, 6th & Market Streets | (215) 629-4026 Memorial Day – Labor Day, 11:00 am – 4:00 pmWhat’s more pleasant than taking a break on a cozy bench on a summer day?  How about listening to fun, exciting and sometimes silly tales of the history of Philadelphia from trained storytellers?  Kids can request a flag at any of the benches, collect stars after visiting each bench and redeem fun, free prizes after collecting stars from all thirteen benches.Insider Tip: Give the secret password—available at the Independence Visitor Center—to storytellers, and they’ll reveal tales about Underground Railroad heroes such as James Forten, Oney Judge and Jane Johnson. Cliveden of the National Trust 6401 Germantown Avenue (Historic Germantown)  | (215) 848-1777  Home to the wealthy and influential Chew family and the scene of the Revolutionary Battle of Germantown in 1777, Cliveden offers guided tours of the mansion. New research into Chew’s papers reveals much about slavery and the daily life on Northern plantations. Philly 360° Legacy is your guide to African-American history in Philadelphia—from the President’s House and Mother Bethel, which highlight Philadelphia as a center for abolition and civil rights, to the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PHILADANCO spotlighting Philadelphia’s cultural legacy and significance. Here is list of our top historic sites and cultural attractions. Historic Germantown Legacy Sites ACES MUSEUM 5801-5803 Germantown Avenue (Historic Germantown) | (215) 842-3742  The ACES MUSEUM is a rarity, in that its sole purpose is to honor African-American and minority veterans of World War II and their families.  ACES is also home to the Puppets with History and Reenactment Programs. The museum offers free admissionon on Tuesday afternoons. PHILADANCO 9 N. Philadanco Way (40th & Market Streets) | (215) 387-8200  Joan Myers Brown founded The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) in 1970 to provide opportunities for Black dancers. PHILADANCO has since become an internationally sought out contemporary dance company, known for its high-energy performances and exceptionally well-trained precision dancers and eclectic choreography. You can see the company perform at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, located at 260 S. Broad Street, each spring and fall. Insider tip:  Catch PHILADANCO’s annual holiday performance, Xmas Philes. Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church and Richard Allen Museum419 S. 6th Street (Historic District) | (215) 925-0616 Standing on the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African Americans, perhaps no site is more sacred than Mother Bethel. The church is one of the first independent black churches in the nation and has remained a center of social activism since the 1700s. The museum features original artifacts dating back to the 1500s. Listen to Bishop Leath talk about the history of Mother Bethel here.Insider tip: Mention Philly 360° at the Blacksmith Shop to receive 10% off your purchase.  West Philadelphia Legacy Sites Additional Insider Tips & Facts Insider fact: The Philadelphia Tribune The oldest, continually published African-American newspaper in the nation, The Tribune, founded in 1884, remains a strong voice in Philadelphia’s African-American community. It’s published three times a week and available at newsstands around town. Insider fact: Philadelphia Museum of Art African-American architect Julian Abele played a large role in designing the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Insider fact: Church of the Advocate One of the best American examples of Gothic Revival style, the Church of the Advocate was a center for the Civil Rights Movement and was the site for the National Conference of Black Power in 1968 and the Black Panther Conference in 1970. Today, the functioning church features powerful murals depicting “stations” of the Civil Rights Movement. The Church also hosts performances and programs presented by Art Sanctuary (see below listing).  Listen to former Pastor Isaac Miller talk about the history of Church of the Advocate and Art Sanctuary here. Insider fact: Art Sanctuary Art Sanctuary uses the power of black art to transform individuals, unite groups of people and enrich and draw inspiration from the inner city. The organization presents lectures, performances and educational programs at its large performance venue the Church of the Advocate at 1801 W. Diamond Street and at its gallery at 628 S. 16th Street. Art Sanctuary’s largest signature program, the Celebration of Black Writing takes place during the first weekend in June at Temple University. Art Sanctuary is opening it’s new space, details here.  Listen to former Pastor Isaac Miller talk about the history of Church of the Advocate and Art Sanctuary here. Insider tip: Brandywine Workshop A major force in the creation, development and promotion of printmaking as a fine art, Brandywine Workshop has exhibitions and a great store featuring high quality affordable prints. Concord School House and Upper Burying Ground 6309 Germantown Avenue (Historic Germantown)  | (215) 844-1683  By the 1850s, African Americans had begun to rent this first English-language schoolroom to teach penmanship and host meetings to advance the abolitionist cause and education for African Americans. Tour this original one-room schoolhouse. Insider’s Tip: Make time to tour the burying ground outside of the schoolhouse, which is the final resting place of soldiers of the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.last_img