at the Museum

Constitution Day
September 17, 2013

Join the National Constitution Center as we kick off our calendar of civic holidays with the nation’s best Constitution Day celebration! We are the place to turn to fulfill your Constitution Day education requirements—at the museum and in the classroom. On the anniversary of the Constitution’s signing in 1787, head to the National Constitution Center on Constitution Day, September 17, 2013 for FREE admission, plus an array of engaging educational programs, ceremonies, hands-on crafts, and special guests including Congressman John Lewis, civic activist Mary Beth Tinker, and humanitarian Gerda Weissmann Klein.


September 17

FREE Admission to the National Constitution Center

Click here to book your group for Constitution Day!

226: Preamble Challenge

8:30 a.m.

Front Lawn

To kick off the day the Constitution was signed 226 years ago, the Center hosts a stirring reading of the first words written in our nation’s founding document: the Preamble.

Inaugural Flag Raising

9 a.m.

Front Lawn

Join us as we unveil the National Constitution Center’s brand-new flagpole during a special flag-raising ceremony. The program will be attended by representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution, who generously supported the installation of the flagpole.

Funding for installation of the flagpole was made possible through the sponsorship of Pennsylvania State Society Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Pennsylvania Society Sons of the American Revolution, and National Society Sons of the American Revolution.

Printing and Craft Activities

9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Grand Hall Overlook

Visitors can explore and learn more about Colonial Print Shops and take part in arts and crafts projects, calligraphy demonstration and join in on Colonial Lawn Games.

Pass the Citizenship Test show

9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.

Grand Hall Overlook

Do you know what it takes to become an American citizen? During this engaging program, you’ll learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and gain insight into our country and our freedoms.

American National Tree Induction Ceremony

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Richard and Helen DeVos Exhibit Hall

One of the National Constitution Center’s most popular exhibits, the American National Tree spotlights 100 Americans whose actions have shaped constitutional history. Every Constitution Day, the museum adds a new individual to the exhibit. This year’s inductee is Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American to serve in the United States Congress.

Each year, the inductee is determined by the winner of a national student writing contest, the M.R. Robinson National Constitution Center American National Tree Award. The contest is held in partnership with Scholastic Inc. and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. The 2013 winning essay, “The Humble Giant,” was written by Sam K. Duffy of Collegiate School in New York, New York.

Separation of Powers show

10 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m.

Grand Hall Overlook

This high-energy show explores how our Constitution limits government by separating powers—a truly revolutionary idea! Take part in an educational tug-of-war game between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches while learning about checks and balances.

Naturalization Ceremony

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

F.M. Kirby Auditorium

Immigrants from across the globe will take the Oath of Allegiance to officially become citizens of the United States. The ceremony will feature a keynote address by Gerda Weissmann Klein, Founder of Citizenship Counts, Holocaust survivor, 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and proud naturalized citizen. Presiding will be the Honorable John R. Padova.

Bill of Rights show

10:45 p.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m.

Richard and Helen DeVos Exhibit Hall

Who wants to be a “Bill”-ionaire? In the Center’s fast-paced game show, visitors face off in a fun competition testing their Bill of Rights knowledge while an engaging host reveals the real deal about our amendments and freedoms.

The Constitution’s Anniversary Celebration

12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Grand Hall Overlook

Enjoy a slice of cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to ring in the 226th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing. The celebration includes a special appearance by President George Washington, live music, and much more!

Congressman John Lewis: The March for Civil Rights

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

F.M. Kirby Auditorium

*Great program for young audiences!
Join civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis for an inside look at his new graphic novel, March: Book One. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Congressman Lewis will also explore today’s constitutional questions related to equal rights. Guests of this event will receive a FREE copy of March: Book One. A book signing will follow the program. Reservations Recommended: Call 215.409.6700 or order online.

Watch a live streem of this event

Tinker Tour: The Power of an Armband

1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Grand Hall Overlook

Civic activist Mary Beth Tinker is taking her story to the streets and to the National Constitution Center on Constitution Day! The 1960s free speech icon from the Supreme Court’s “armband case” seeks to boost free speech awareness and civics education by telling her story to students and teachers across America on the Tinker Tour—a nationwide civic education bus trip. She’s launching the tour at the National Constitution Center!

Watch a live stream of this event

Drones and Your Privacy

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

F.M. Kirby Auditorium

Join Jeffrey Rosen; Penn Law Professor Claire Finkelstein and Cary Cordero for a conversation about the challenges of ensuring both liberty and security. This program is presented in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Reservations Recommended: Call 215.409.6700 or order online.

Watch a live stream of this event

DOMA and PA: Legal Showdown

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s landmark DOMA decision, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s refusal to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, Philadelphia magazine editor Tom McGrath moderates a timely conversation between Mark Aronchick and Randy Lee who represents both sides of the federal-state standoff.

This program is presented in partnership with Philadelphia magazine. Reservations Recommended: Call 215.409.6700 or order online.

Watch a live stream of this event

September 9-20

Constitution Hall Pass: “Constitution Day 2013: The Legislative Branch”

Online video lesson and live chat: September 9-20, 2013 (live chat on weekdays only)
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST

Give your students a “hall pass” to travel through American history—without leaving the classroom! Constitution Hall Pass video lessons and live chats are a hit with millions of students and teachers nationwide. Our brand-new episode, “Constitution Day 2013: The Legislative Branch,” provides a behind-the-scenes look at how laws are made in the United States. Students will:

  • Discover the debates and disagreements at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that led to the development of a bicameral legislature
  • Learn how Article I of the Constitution established the legislative branch and the role of Congress
  • Explore the famous sites where Congress took shape including Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Federal Hall in New York City, and the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
  • Understand how the law-making process works today, how members of Congress are accountable to "We the People," and the importance of civic participation

All you need is an internet connection to participate! Tune in at

This program has been supported by The Hearst Foundation, Inc.

September 16

Constituting America Video Screening

12:30 p.m.

F.M. Kirby Auditorium

One day prior to the 2013 We the People 9.17 Awards Ceremony in Independence National Historical Park, Constituting America will be hosting a screening at the National Constitution Center featuring the winning video entries. Additional winning entries, including art and poetry, will be on display at the museum throughout Constitution Week.

Constituting America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and informing students and adults about the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the foundation it sets forth for our freedoms and rights.

September 20

Coffee and Conversation: Oliver Wendell Holmes and the First Amendment

2 p.m.

Location TBD

Professor and author Thomas Healy speaks with Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Wendell E. Pritchett about the fascinating evolution of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes from free-speech antagonist to First Amendment advocate. A book sale and signing will follow the program.

This program is presented in partnership with the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Reservations Recommended: Call 215.409.6700 or order online.

Shop for Materials

Pocket Constitution
Pocket Constitution
The Pocket United States Constitutions are 9-by-22 inches and fold into an approximately 3-by-3 inch square. Receive one FREE Classroom-Ready Resource when purchasing 150 or more Pocket Constitutions.
Constitution Day Kit
Constitution Day Kit
Everything you need for a Constitution Day lesson and activities. Comes with lesson plan, DVD, pocket constitutions and more!