As a visitor to the 29th IAJGS conference you will undoubtedly be concentrating your touring to genealogical repositories, cemeteries and other facilities that can enhance your research. However you might want to extend your visit before or after the conference, to take in the many other sights that Philadelphia has to offer. See below for information on Historic Philadelphia, Philadelphia Art, Day Trips For Those With Cars, Philadelphia Science, and Other Places of Special Interest.
1. HISTORIC PHILADELPHIA
Independence National Park
Few ideas so capture the imagination of mankind that they imbue physical objects with universal meaning. For Americans, indeed for all people, there are no more potent symbols of individual freedom than Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Independence Hall (http://www.nps.gov/inde/independence-hall-1.htm) is where two documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, were written. It is these two documents on which the foundations of our country rest.
Here, from 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia was the nation's capital, the principle of governance based on the rights of individual citizens was first tested. Through a series of events, which in retrospect seem almost miraculous, many of the buildings in which these events took place were preserved. This place where our nation began arouses deep feelings. The attentive silence of the crowds in the Assembly Room is a testament to this emotion. So is the awe on the faces of children as they view the Liberty Bell for the first time. But Independence is more than an object of reverence. It is also a place to be reminded of the ideals that formed the basis for the founding of the United States, and on which its continued survival depends. And as they tour the park, visitors are made aware that the formation of this nation was the work of men, imperfect like themselves, who transcended their faults and foibles to create an enduring democracy, the oldest in the world and a model for free men everywhere.
Tours of Independence Hall (http://www.nps.gov/inde/independence-hall-1.htm) are organized by means of timed tickets. You can get free tickets at the Independence Visitor Center on the day of your visit, or reserve them in advance for a fee of $1.50 per ticket. Tickets can be purchased on line or by phone toll free at: 1-877-444-6777
The Liberty Bell Center
This is the dramatic new home of the internationally known symbol of freedom. The center is open 365 day a year, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., with extended hours in the summer. Find out more at (http://www.nps.gov/inde/liberty-bell-center.htm)
No tickets are required for admission to the Liberty Bell, however, visitors must go through security screening to gain entrance to the center. Throughout the expansive, light-filled Center, larger-than-life historic documents and graphic images explore the facts and the myths surrounding the Bell. X-rays give an insider's view, literally, of the Bell's crack and inner-workings. In quiet alcoves, a short History Channel film, available in English and eight other languages, traces how abolitionists, suffragists and other groups adopted the Bell as its symbol of freedom.
Franklin Court Museum (http://www.ushistory.org/Franklin/info/court.htm)
Benjamin Franklin, in addition to his kite-flying career, was perhaps the most historically fascinating personality in Revolutionary Philadelphia. He moved from Boston to Philadelphia at the age of 17. He was a printer, diplomat, inventor, publisher, author, statesman, postmaster, and more. He founded the Library Company, Pennsylvania Hospital, American Philosophical Society, and the University of Pennsylvania. Here is Philadelphia's tribute to this great man, comprising various locations in the same area.
At the site where Franklin's house once stood there is now a "Ghost Structure'"designed by Philadelphia architect, Robert Venturi to demonstrate how the dwelling might have appeared. It is underneath this Court that a fascinating museum is located. The museum is undergoing a phased renovation and it is not known which exhibits will be available.
Betsy Ross House (http://www.betsyrosshouse.org)
Did she or didn't she? While historians debate Betsy Ross' role in making the first American flag, the home of the nation's best known seamstress is among the region's most popular attractions. Betsy, who made a living as a furniture upholsterer, rented the 1740 home, and the teeny-tiny rooms and tight little staircases give a good portrayal of a working class woman�s life in colonial America. Her workroom, two bedrooms, and kitchen are all included in a self-guided tour. An exhibit area in the house�s extensive gift shop displays family treasures including her family bible, snuff box, and other artifacts while a new audio tour allows visitors to take a guided tour of the house at their own pace. Betsy Ross is buried beneath the giant elm and sycamore trees that shade the courtyard.
Carpenters' Hall (http://www.carpentershall.org)
Carpenters' Hall was the meeting Place of the First Continental Congress. Before the Constitution, before the Declaration of Independence, there was the First Continental Congress. In 1774, delegates from 12 colonies (Georgia abstained), gathered at Carpenters' Hall and voted to support a trade embargo against England, one of the first unified acts of defiance against the King. That alone would justify Carpenters' Hall's fame. But the building itself deserves recognition.
Built by craftsmen for craftsmen, the Flemish bond brick pattern, cupola, and windows are almost flawless examples of Georgian architecture. Inside, a scale model shows 18th century methods used in the building's construction. The delegates' chairs and the original banner carried during the 1788 Constitutional parade are also displayed. The building is still owned by members of the Carpenters' Company.
The cry for independence was hardly unanimous. The First Continental Congress was the first and only time that Americans across the political spectrum gathered to debate issues. Fiery patriots such as Patrick Henry addressed the 1774 meeting and never spoke nationally again. By 1776, extremely conservative and extraordinarily radical Americans became suspicious of national gatherings and refused to participate.
2. PHILADELPHIA ART
The Philadelphia Museum of Art (http://www.philamuseum.org)
The city and surroundings are the home to celebrated art museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the largest museums in the United States, whose classical architecture overlooks the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and presents a sweeping view of the center city skyline. Its front facade is known around the world since the run up its front steps was famously shown in the movie "Rocky." [Visitors will be pleased to know that it is not necessary to climb those steps. Easy access and handicapped access to the museum is available.]
The main building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art houses 200 galleries and welcomes nearly a million visitors each year. Directly across the parkway there is a stunning new annex to the museum, The Perelman Building. This newly renovated art deco building presents visitors with wonderful gallery spaces in which to experience the Museum's collections--some of which are being placed on view for the first time.
Rodin Museum (http://www.rodinmuseum.org)
A pleasant stroll away is the Rodin Museum dedicated to the works of the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917.) It is the largest collection of Rodin's works outside Paris.
Curtis Building (http://www.ushistory.org/tour/tour_dreamgarden.htm)
If your visit to Philadelphia includes a trip to Independence Hall, you will want to cross the street and enter the Curtis Building where in the lobby you'll find a huge mural made in Tiffany stain glass of Maxwell Parrish's illustration of "The Dream Garden". Much more impressive than the beautiful but usual lamp shades you've seen. The Curtis Building (7th and Chestnut) was home of the "Saturday Evening Post" magazine which featured many illustrations of Norman Rockwell.
Barnes Foundation (http://www.barnesfoundation.org/h_main.html)
Accessible by a 20 minute train ride from Suburban station located just three blocks from the conference hotel, is the incredible Barnes Foundation art collection. The Barnes Foundation gallery houses one of the finest collections of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern paintings in the world, including an extraordinary number of masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, and Henri Matisse. The collection also includes important works by Pablo Picasso, Chaim Soutine, Henri Rousseau , Amedeo Modigliani, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Edouard Manet, and Claude Monet.
In addition to its renowned collection of late 19th and early 20th century European paintings, the Foundation's collection also includes important examples of American paintings and works on paper, including works by Charles Demuth, William Glackens, and Maurice and Charles Prendergast; African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles; Asian paintings, prints, and sculptures; Medieval manuscripts and sculptures; Old Master paintings, including works by El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, and Titian; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European decorative arts and metalwork.
Advance reservations are required and can be made through the Barnes website (http://www.barnesfoundation.org/h_main.html). The Barnes collection will be moving to Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the future, but for now it is still located in its original gallery in Merion, Pa., a pleasant walk from the Merion train station. The gallery is surrounded by an arboretum with 300,000 varieties of woody plants.
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (http://www.pafa.org/)
PAFA was founded in 1805 by painter and scientist Charles Willson Peale, sculptor William Rush, and other artists and business leaders. It is the oldest art museum and art school in the nation. The current museum building opened in 1876. Designed by the American architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt, it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. As such, it is recognized as an important part of America's and Philadelphia's architectural heritage. It was carefully restored in 1976. The collection is installed in a chronological and thematic format, exploring the history of American art from the 1760s to the present.
Located at 118-128 N. Broad St., just north of City Hall, PAFA is within walking distance of the conference site, Sheraton Philadelphia Center City Hotel.
Arthur Ross Gallery (http://www.upenn.edu/ARG)
With an ever-changing lineup of tightly focused exhibits on the University of Pennsylvania campus this intimate Arthur Ross Gallery presents a year-round schedule of exhibitions, including objects from the University's collections, as well as from other major public and private collections, often with an ethnographic or anthropological focus.
The gallery is housed in the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Building (1890), one of the finest examples of the work of architect Frank Furness. This university library was among the first to separate the reading room from the book stacks, and its dramatic interior features innovative use of natural light, and richly ornamented iron, terra cotta and brickwork.
The Borowsky Gallery at the Gershman Y (http://www.gershmany.org/gallery.php)
The Gershman Y, a branch of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia, has graced the corner of Broad and Pine Streets for over 80 years. Their stated mission is to serve as a dynamic regional center for arts and culture, retaining a commitment to Jewish culture and identity while appealing to a diverse audience through wide-ranging programming. The Gershman Y is located in the cultural heart of Center City, Philadelphia on the Avenue of the Arts. The Gershman Y can trace its origins back to the Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA) that was originally formed in 1875 to serve as a cultural, educational and social meeting place for the Jewish community. In 1924, the YMHA merged with the newly formed Young Women's Hebrew Society. The tradition of enriching the cultural life of the community continued throughout the years and came into full bloom with the formation of the YM-YWHA Arts Council in 1958. The Arts Council brought the avant-garde cultural scene to Philadelphia.
The Borowsky and Open Lens Galleries are located at the Gershman Y, 401 South Broad Street (at Pine Street) in Philadelphia. Admission is free. Gallery hours are Sunday - Friday, 9am - 5pm. Gallery information: (215) 446-3001.
Street Murals, Sculpture and Art
To learn more about the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and Tour, see (http://www.muralarts.org/) Philadelphia has one of the most extensive street mural programs in the US. Founded in 1984, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is the nation's largest public arts initiative of its kind. After 25 years of life-changing and internationally acclaimed accomplishments, the City of Philadelphia cannot imagine a world without the Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia's murals are as unique and defining to the city as the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin and cheesesteaks.
To learn more about the tour schedule or to book a tour, see (http://www.muralarts.org/getinvolved/tours/).
Outdoor Monuments, Statues and Sculpture & Boathouse Row
3. DAY TRIPS FOR THOSE WITH CARS
Brandywine River Museum
At the Brandywine River Museum (http://www.brandywinemuseum.org) art and nature come together in a lovely riverside setting it�s hard to imagine a more bucolic place in which to explore art than the Brandywine River Museum run by the Brandywine Conservancy on a nature preserve. As you stroll its galleries, remember that the very settings which inspired much of the art on view-rolling hills, snowy drifts, and, always, the river-surround you. For many, this landscape, at once rough and gentle, has become synonymous with Andrew Wyeth, whose work is exhibited here in abundance.
Also on view: the illustrations of his father, N.C.Wyeth, and the realistic paintings of his son, Jamie Wyeth, as well as that of their contemporaries. A tour through the terrain of the Brandywine Valley, the history of American illustration, and the contributions of the very creative Wyeth family, the Museum offers much for all kinds of art lovers.
Unfortunately, public transportation is not available. See driving instructions below:
Brandywine River Museum
U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 141,
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
From center city Philadelphia: Take I-95 south to Route 322 west. Follow 322 west to its intersection with US Route 1. Follow US Route 1 south approximately 3 1/2 miles to Chadds Ford. The Brandywine River Museum is located on the left side of US Route 1, just past the intersection with Creek Road (formerly known as Route 100).
Winterthur, is the exquisite country estate and former home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969). Mr. du Pont was an avid antiques collector and horticulturist. Winterthur was designed by H. F. du Pont and his father, Henry Algernon du Pont, in the early 20th century, in the spirit of 18th- and19th-century European country houses.
Visiting Winterthur immerses you in another time and place through its unparalleled collections of antiques and Americana. In addition to the house tour you may wander through the breathtaking beauty of the 60-acre naturalistic Winterthur Garden which also includes the magic of Winterthur's famous fairy-tale children's garden, Enchanted Woods.
Mercer & Fonthill Museums (http://www.mercermuseum.org/index.htm) in Doylestown, PA
The artifact collections of the Mercer and Fonthill Museums fall into three broad categories: (1) those related to everyday life and work in pre-industrial America; (2) those representative of the art, architecture and collecting interests of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930); and (3) those that document the history and culture of Bucks County and the Delaware Valley region from earliest human occupation and settlement down to the present day. One of the most noteworthy collections is comprised of American art tile and pottery.
The core of the Mercer Museum collection was conceived by its founder as an encyclopedic assemblage of pre-industrial American material culture. Established in 1897, it is now recognized as one of the most extensive collections of artifacts associated with pre-1850 American life-ways and technological history. Comprising nearly 40,000 objects, the museum is especially renowned for its collections of tools and artifacts associated with pre-industrial trades, crafts, agriculture and domestic work. While originating primarily in the Middle Atlantic region, these collections also include thousands of objects from New England, Appalachia and the Deep South.
4. PHILADELPHIA SCIENCE
Franklin Institute (http://www2.fi.edu/)
The Franklin Institute Science Museum was founded in honor of Benjamin Franklin, the first well-known scientist in the United States when it was still a young nation. It first opened in 1938 and was actually designed by taking inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. The building has a domed ceiling that is more than 80 feet high.
For visitors to the Franklin Institute Philadelphia, there are a number of interesting exhibits that are meant to help guests not only understand the world of science in greater detail, but also to provide hands-on experience to help people fall in love with what science can do. Many of the exhibits focus on the many inventions and ideas introduced by Franklin himself.
The Franklin Institute Science Museum is also home to one of the largest observatories in the United States, the Joel N. Bloom Observatory which holds a number of high-power telescopes as well as both refractors and reflectors to catch interesting views of the sky above. Other attractions at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia include an IMAX Theatre and a large outdoor Science Park which covers over 20,000 square feet adjacent to the Institute building. A 60-foot planetarium is also found on the grounds of the Franklin Institute Science Museum and, when it was first constructed in 1933 was the first like it in the United States.
The Academy of Natural Sciences (http://www.ansp.org/)
Within sight of the Franklin Institute stands one of the world's foremost natural history museums. Founded in 1812, The Academy of Natural Sciences 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. Researchers worldwide utilize the museum's more than 17 million specimens for biodiversity studies.
Atwater Kent Museum (http://www.philadelphiahistory.org)
The Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, located just around the corner from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, has been an exciting gateway into Philadelphia History for nearly 70 years. See hundreds of priceless objects on display, including the wampum belt that the Lenni Lenape Indians gave to William Penn in 1682.The museum is also home to the world's largest map of Philadelphia, stretching over an entire gallery floor in a permanent exhibition, Experience Philadelphia. In just a few steps, travel from South Philadelphia to Montgomery County and see the ordinary and extraordinary objects and images of city history.
Pennsylvania Hospital (http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/paharc/collections)
Pennsylvania Hospital was the first hospital in the United States and was founded by Benjamin Franklin twenty-five years before independence from Great Britain was declared. The hospital also housed the first pharmacy. The hospital museum, located in the original hospital building, adjoins the current hospital site and contains many fascinating historical hospital artifacts. On the walls of the museum hang historical paintings by Thomas Eakins, Thomas Sully and Benjamin West which, along with the building�s architecture, combine a legacy of both art and science.
The second floor of the center building houses a historic library whose beauty will make any bibliophile's heart beat faster. The collection contains 13,000 medical books of herbal and horticultural volumes and many outstanding works in anatomy, surgery, internal medicine, national history, science, and botany. On the top floor is the original Surgical Amphitheatre. Here, under a skylight, surrounded by rows of medical students above, surgical procedures were performed from 1804 to 1868. Located in the West Wing, is the Museum of Nursing History. Nursing uniforms, pins, caps, and other memorabilia are on display.
Pennsylvania Hospital offers guided tours on Thursdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. To register for a tour please call 215-829-3370. There is a suggested donation of $4.00 per person.
US Mint (http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/mint_facilities/index.cfm?action=PA_facilities)
The US Mint (http://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/) is located at 5th and Arch Sts. where they still make shinny copper pennies. It is within easy walking distance from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center.
5. OTHER PLACES THAT MIGHT DELIGHT THOSE WITH SPECIAL INTERESTS
The Please Touch Museum
For children of all ages. In its new home, the historic and exquisitely renovated Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, this museum is a special treat. For those who wish to extend their conference visit with a family vacation that includes young children this is a must see. Just as the name implies, it is filled with fantasy tableaux�s that invite children to participate. There is a restored carousel to delight kids and the "inner child" of the adults who accompany them.
For information on the following sites, go to the websites given:
Independence Seaport Museum (http://www.phillyseaport.org)
Firemen's Hall Museum (http://www.firemanshall.org)
The Rosenbach Museum & Library (http://www.rosenbach.org)
Afro-American Museum (http://www.aampmuseum.org)
In Camden, NJ: Just across the Delaware River from the Philadelphia waterfront and available by ferry (http://www.riverlinkferry.org) from Penn's Landing on the Philadelphia side, you can find:
Adventure Aquarium (http://www.adventureaquarium.com)
Battleship New Jersey Memorial & Museum (http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org)