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Apr 16 2009

$1.5 Million African-American Histroy Exhibition Kicks Off Summer In Historic Philadelphia

New July Fourth Parade, Lincoln Celebration And Behind-The-Scenes Boat Tours Headline A Summer Of Discovery

This summer, Historic Philadelphia is home to brand-new attractions, activities and events, including the provocative new exhibition at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876. After undergoing an extensive renovation, the city’s premier African-American museum will unveil its stunning permanent display on Juneteenth (June 19).

To discover Audacious Freedom and all of the other affordable—or free—attractions in Historic Philadelphia this summer, visitors will have to spend at least two nights. gophila.com lists dozens of affordable hotel packages, including the popular Philly Overnight® Hotel Package, a two-night offer that comes with free hotel parking.

Here’s what’s new in Historic Philadelphia this summer:

New Exhibitions And Festivals:

  • NAPOLÉON – Through this 6,000-square-foot exhibition, visitors get a rare glimpse into the life, career and complexities of the enigmatic Napoléon Bonaparte. The National Constitution Center showcases artistic depictions of the emperor of France, many of his personal belongings and other historic artifacts, many of which have never been seen by the public, and highlights Napoléon’s connection to the United States. May 29-September 7. $13.50-$17.50. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org
  • Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876 – At this new permanent exhibition at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, visitors listen to life-sized 3D characters speak fervently about their lives, beliefs and aspirations in 18th-century Philadelphia; explore an interactive timeline documenting more than 100 years of entrepreneurship, environment, education, religion and family traditions in the African-American community; and discover whose descendants still call the region home. Opens Juneteenth (June 19). $8-$10. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
  • Lincoln 200: The Bicentennial Birthday Festival – President Abraham Lincoln visited Philadelphia three times during his political life: during a Whig convention, on his whistle stop train tour to the inauguration and for a fair at Logan Square. Now in 2009, two centuries after his birth, Philadelphia honors the 16th president and his connection to the city with special events, festivals and exhibitions. During Fourth of July weekend, the birthday festival, themed “Lincoln Then and Now,” gears up on Independence Mall with art displays, exhibitions, performances, living history programs, storytelling and children’s activities. July 3-5. Free. Between Arch & Market Streets and 5th & 6th Streets, lincoln200philly.org

New Additions To Summertime Favorites:

  • Storytelling Benches – After chatting with the Colonial characters who stroll the area, visitors can take a seat at one of Historic Philadelphia’s 13 storytelling benches, where professional storytellers regale passersby with tales of the nation’s past. With six new stories added to their repertoire and a new bench in Washington Square, this visitor favorite keeps getting better. Guests can ask for a secret password at the Signers’ Garden bench to hear accounts of the Underground Railroad at all 13 stops. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Free. (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
  • An Evening with Harriet Tubman – Legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman joins the distinguished Evenings with Historical Heroes lineup this summer. At the Free Quaker Meeting House, Tubman regales visitors with stories of her enslavement and her history-changing role in the Underground Railroad. June 14 and July 2. $9-$12. 5th & Arch Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
  • Franklin Square – A rousing game of mini-golf or a ride on the old-fashioned carousel can work up quite an appetite. Renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr takes over the Franklin Square kitchen, serving up popular summertime fare. Through October 31. Park activities free to $8. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
  • Olympia – For the first time in two years, sea lubbers can tour the Pilot House, which was rebuilt according to its historic specs, as well as the other sections of Admiral Dewey’s Spanish-American War flagship. The world’s oldest steel warship still afloat, Cruiser Olympia is docked outside the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing. Pilot House opens May 2. $7-$12. Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org
  • Battleship New Jersey – America’s most decorated battleship has been undergoing restoration, and new sections of the ship are open for tours this summer. The fascinating City At Sea guided tour and the General Quarters audio tour, which features accounts from former crew members and realistic sound effects, give visitors an insider view of life on a military ship. $13-$19.95. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ, (856) 966-1652, battleshipnewjersey.org

America’s Birthday Party:

  • Fourth of July Parade – There is a new look and a new location for the annual Sunoco Welcome America! Fourth of July parade. This year, the parade moves to the cobblestone streets of Historic Philadelphia, stepping off right in front of Independence Hall. With marching bands, cultural groups from around the nation, antique cars, fire trucks and red, white and blue everywhere, America’s birthday parade takes on an old-time, Main Street-style look and feel. July 4. Free. Proceeds down Market Street from Independence Hall, (215) 683-2200, welcomeamerica.com
  • Two Weekends of Fireworks – Because two dazzling fireworks displays are better than one, Philadelphia lights up the skies on two consecutive weekends. After feasting on specialties from dozens of local restaurants at A Taste of Philadelphia, visitors can stick around for a pyrotechnical spectacle over the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing. June 27. The following week, sparks fly over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a breathtaking finale to the concert outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. July 4. Free. 26th Street & the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 683-2200, welcomeamerica.com

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 gophila.com or uwishunu.com, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to Hear Philly, 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.

Contact(s):
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