Colonial Spring Break

Monday, April 14 – Sunday, April 27, 2014

FREE with regular museum admission

As part of the National Constitution Center’s Spring Break programming, visitors can explore what daily life was like at Monticello and during America’s early years. Activity stations include our Colonial printing press, paper making, and a candle shop. Families can also try on period clothing and play 18th-century games like Hoop-and-Stick and Graces on the National Constitution Center’s front lawn.  

Special Events


Income Tax Day
April 15, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visitors to the museum on Income Tax Day can take a special tour of the museum’s main exhibition, The Story of We the People, to discover how the Stamp Act, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the 16th Amendment all connect to the history of taxation in America. They can also learn about the most famous tax protest in history, the story of the Boston Tea Party.

Children and their families also can find out exactly where their tax dollars go with the interactive “Tax Machine” and what percentage of that money goes toward national security, education, healthcare, and the environment. In addition, guests can design their own dollar bills and piggy banks at craft activity tables.

Tune in online to view a special Tax Day episode of the museum’s popular webcast and live chat series, Constitution Hall Pass. Members of the National Constitution Center’s staff will be available to answer viewer questions on Tuesday, April 15 from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST.

Earth Day
April 22, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
During the National Constitution Center’s Earth Day celebration, visitors can find out how to help their communities “go green”—a key part of being an active citizen! Throughout the day, Philadelphia-based eco-friendly organizations will be on hand to discuss important topics such as the significance of eating locally grown foods. Visitors also can calculate the carbon footprints of the Founding Fathers and participate in the “It Is Easy Being Green” quiz game. Children can create environmentally friendly crafts, including recycled paper and art projects made from recycled materials.

Tune in online to view a special Earth Day episode of the museum’s popular webcast and live chat series, Constitution Hall Pass. Members of the National Constitution Center’s staff will be available to answer viewer questions on April 22 from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST.

Daily Programs

Freedom Rising Production
Kimmel Theater
Daily, every half hour

Narrated by a live actor, Freedom Rising is a 360-degree theatrical production that vividly illuminates the story of the U.S. Constitution. Audience members are transported on a whirlwind journey through more than 200 years of constitutional history—from the American Revolution to the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, and other key historic milestones. Visitors come away inspired by the American quest for freedom.

Exhibition Gallery Talks
Main Exhibition Gallery
Daily, every half hour following Freedom Rising
Join our education staff for an overview of what you’ll see and learn in the exhibitions.

Growing Up, American Style Show
Grand Hall Lobby
Daily, 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

In this hands-on program, visitors will discover what it was like to grow up at different times in American history. Guests can participate in a costume runway show featuring traditional-style dress from the Colonial and Civil War eras, and try their hand at once-popular games like hoop-and-stick.

Exhibition Tours
Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello Exhibition
Daily, 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
National Constitution Center Educators will lead daily guided tours through the Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello exhibition, highlighting the lives and legacies of the enslaved families on Jefferson’s plantation.

Signers Hall Tours   
Signers Hall
Daily, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.

Did you know that Ben Franklin’s father was a Boston Candle Maker, or that George Washington had a successful career as a surveyor before he became president?  This special tour of one of the museum most beloved exhibitions explores the lives of our favorite founding father—before they got to the Constitutional Convention!

Colonial Hands-On Activities
Grand Hall Lobby
Daily; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays);  Check program sheet upon arrival for that days offerings.

Throughout spring break, families will have the opportunity to explore different colonial-era jobs and activities at hands-on workshops.  Stations will include:
•    Gardening Stations
•    Weaving Stations
•    Candle Making
•    Silhouette Portraits

Eighteenth Century Lawn Games
Front Lawn
Daily; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays)

Try your hand at graces, hoop and stick, nine pin, and other games popular in 1787.

Story Corner
Annenberg Lobby
Daily; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays)

Learn more about Jefferson, our other founding fathers, and life in the colonial-era at our story corner.   

Audio Tours
Available at the Box Office during regular museum hours
$3.00/iPod

•    Signers’ Hall Tour
The 42 bronze statues of the Founders in Signers’ Hall come to life during this popular tour, which will transport you to September 17, 1787, when the Constitution was signed. With a special introduction by President George H.W. Bush, the tour offers an exciting way to explore America’s past and the issues that still challenge us today. (Visitors will listen to what each signer may have been thinking at the time the Constitution was signed.)
•    We the People Tour
Experience the Center’s main exhibition through the eyes of distinguished historians and curators. Learn more about our artifacts and hear fascinating stories about the struggles and triumphs of Americans throughout our history.
•    Mission: The Oval Office Tour
Using iPods as a secret agent’s gadget, young visitors can scour the Center’s text panels, artifacts, and interactive displays to learn about the presidency. Students are guided by an avatar with the voice of WXPN’s popular Kids Corner radio host, Kathy O’Connell. Recommended for grades 5 – 8.
•    Slavery at Jefferson Monticello
The Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello iPod audio tour will offer visitors a curator’s perspective on the exhibition and its complex themes. Join the exhibition’s curator Susan Stein to take a closer look at the many objects and artifacts in the exhibition and explore how these items connect to the larger narrative of Monticello, Jefferson’s legacy, and the paradox of slavery in early America.

Exhibition Activity Guides
Available during regular museum hours throughout the museum
•    The Path to Responsible Citizenship, an exhibition guide that is design to engage students in the Center’s main exhibition and enhance their experience.
o    The guide begins at the start of the exhibit, and contains activities at multiple stops through the main exhibit.
o    The guides are developed in three levels: Elementary School (1st – 5th grade), Middle School (6th- 8th grade), and High School (9th- 12th grade).
o    Guides can be picked up at the box office (one per student)
o    Please have students bring a pencil
•    The Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello exhibition guide will enrich student visits by highlighting key artifacts and essential themes, guiding students as they learn about the history, culture, and contradictions of Thomas Jefferson’s estate. Students will delve into Jefferson’s world as they explore life at Monticello and learn more about its inhabitants, their work, and their community. Students will have the chance to take a closer role at the enslaved families at Monticello and examine what their life might have been like through the lens of a historian.