Finding the Founders

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Admission: FREE
Reservations Recommended: Call 215.409.6700 or order online

Visit the National Constitution Center and neighboring sites throughout Historic Philadelphia to join fascinating conversations with scholars, who will share their insights on equality and freedom through the lens of the American Revolution. The program will provide an expanded understanding of Independence Day—one that sees the holiday as both a celebration and an acknowledgment of America’s ongoing struggle to achieve the ideals expressed in the nation’s founding documents.

Participating partner organizations include Elfreth’s Alley and Historic Philadelphia, Inc., whose sites include the Betsy Ross House and Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches. 


There are so many things to do in Philadelphia during the week of the Fourth of July—here’s how to make the most of your day! Check out our suggested itineraries for families, military history buffs, and civil rights history buffs, and for tackling a Historic Philadelphia bucket list or taking the Finding the Founders marathon challenge.

Program Details

Historic District Walking Tour: Equality in America
National Constitution Center, front lawn (525 Arch Street)
10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Discover Historic Philadelphia with Dr. George Boudreau of Pennsylvania State University! Learn about the history of Philadelphia, the people who lived and visited here, and the role that Philadelphia and Pennsylvania played in the transformation of equality in America. Reserve tickets here.

Establishing “We the People”
National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street)
11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

At the National Constitution Center, join Dr. Richard Beeman of the University of Pennsylvania for a fascinating journey to discover how the meaning of “We the People” has evolved and expanded throughout our nation’s history—and what it means today. Reserve tickets here.

Dissent in America
National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street)
11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

From the Founding Fathers to abolitionists, from the civil rights movement to present-day protesters, dissenters have shaped American history. In the National Constitution Center’s 1968 Exhibit, join dissent scholar (and dissenter) Dr. Ralph Young of Temple University to examine those who took the First Amendment seriously and used dissent and protest to change America. Learn about the protests that have defined us as a nation and what your role can be in shaping the future! Reserve tickets here.

Race and the Civil War
Congress Hall (Chestnut Street at 6th Street)
Note: Due to security screening at this site, it is recommended that you arrive about 20 minutes in advance of the program.
12:15 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Explore the Civil War from a different perspective in this fascinating gallery talk about racial equality during the Civil War era. Dr. Matthew Pinsker of Dickinson College will use the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg to illustrate how emancipation and the recruitment of black soldiers into the Union army truly helped transform the conflict by 1863, while still leaving some critical issues regarding citizenship and equality painfully unresolved. Reserve tickets here.

1800s Women and Labor Equality
Elfreth’s Alley (on 2nd Street between Race and Arch Streets)*
11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Explore this historic street with Dr. Judith Giesberg of Villanova University on an engaging walking tour about labor and class and gender equality in the 19th century. You’ll take a step into the daily life of those who faced these issues—and see how their struggles are still relevant today. Reserve tickets here.

Women in Revolutionary America
Betsy Ross House (239 Arch Street)*
10:15 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Join historian Sandra Lloyd to discover the important roles women played during revolutionary moments in our country’s history. This exciting, family-friendly program will give you the chance to hear stories about remarkable yet little-known women from the past. Some served as spies, a few outwitted the British army, and many stood up for freedom for all people. Reserve tickets here.

Independence Hall Tour
Independence Hall (520 Chestnut Street)
Note: Due to security screening at this site, it is recommended that you arrive about 20 minutes in advance of the program.

Take a special tour of this historic building. It was in the Assembly Room of this building that George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. In the same room the design of the American flag was agreed upon in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, and the U. S. Constitution was drafted in 1787. Reserve tickets here.

Living News
National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street)
10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m.

This live theatrical performance brings today’s headlines and constitutional debates to life. Reserve tickets here.

*Admission to these museums not included with program attendance.

Historic Philadelphia Scavenger Hunt

FOLLOW. FIND. TAG. WIN. In honor of its milestone 10th anniversary, the National Constitution Center is FREE and hosting a fun social media SCAVENGER HUNT that hits many important landmarks within Philadelphia’s historic district that help tell the story of “We the People.”

Download the clues here.

Download the Finding the Founders flier with a map of the historic district here.


This program has been supported in part by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Federal-State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


The Center is also partnering with Beyond the Bell, an association of more than 50 organizations within walking distance of the Liberty Bell.


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