Publication Date

October 1, 2005

The Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) has organized the following tours. Advance registration is highly recommended. Sign-up details and fees required (if any) will be posted on the AHA's web site after November 1. Individuals who wish to join a tour but have not registered in advance can check at the AHA information desk on Level Five at the Marriott up to 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure of the tour to see if space is still available. Additional information about these tours and recommended commercial tours of the city and neighboring areas will appear in fall issues of Perspectives.

All tours convene in the Marriott's Room 310 unless otherwise indicated. Individuals should gather at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the tour.

Tour 1: Behind the Scenes at Independence National Historic Park

Date, time:Thursday, Jan. 5, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Meeting site: The Independence Living History Center on Third Street between Chestnut and Walnut Street at 2:00 p.m., or join a walking group leaving the Marriott’s Room 310 at 1:30 p.m.

Description: Spend an afternoon exploring new interpretations at Independence National Historic Park with research and curatorial staff. Venture behind the scenes of the Todd House and Bishop White House, two 18th-century houses that present contrasts in household technology, socio-economic status, and lifestyles, demonstrating the complexities of urban life during the early republic. Talk with the curatorial staff about a new interpretation of the Todd House set at the time of the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic, which devastated the Todd family and left Dolley Todd (later Dolley Madison) a widow. (Limit: 20 people. No fee for this tour.)

Walking directions: Walk east on Market Street to Third Street. Walk one block south on Third Street to Chestnut Street where the Independence Living History Center is located on the southeast corner of the intersection. There are also eastbound buses with the destination “Penn’s Landing” on either Market or Chestnut Streets.

Tour 2: Curator’s Tour of “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”

Date, time: Friday, January 6, 9:00–11:00 a.m.

Meeting site: National Constitution Center entrance at 8:50 a.m., or join a walking group leaving the Marriott’s Room 310 at 8:40 a.m.

Description: Enjoy a private tour of the new exhibit “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World,” at the National Constitution Center, with Page Talbott, the exhibit’s Chief Curator. The multimedia exhibit conveys the original genius, wit, and imagination of Ben Franklin through a series of interactive exhibit features combined with the largest collection of original Franklin materials ever assembled. (Fee: $8.50 per person, collected at the door.)

Tour 3: Behind the Scenes at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Date, time:Friday, January 6, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Meeting site: Marriott’s Room 310 at 1:30 p.m. for a bus to the academy.

Description: The oldest natural sciences institution in the Western Hemisphere, the academy was founded in 1812 “for the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences, and the advancement of useful learning.” The academy’s collection embodies the historical development of the sciences and Americans’ changing understandings of their natural environment. Go behind the scenes with academy curators to explore natural history collections dating back to the 16th century, including Lewis and Clark’s specimens, Thomas Jefferson’s fossil collections, and early natural history books. (Limit: 15 people. Fee: $19 per person.)

Tour 4: Philadelphia’s Civil Rights Struggle

Date, time:Saturday, January 7, 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Meeting site: Marriott’s Room 310 at 9:45 a.m. for the trolley.

Description: Join V. Chapman-Smith, regional administrator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the National Archives and Records Administration, for an exploration of the civil rights history of North Philadelphia, which was the epicenter of Philadelphia’s civil rights struggle. Visit Girard College and learn about dramatic protests that brought about the integration of this school that once only admitted white boys. Take in the incredible murals at the Church of the Advocate and celebrate the leadership of local civil rights icons. Enjoy lunch with community members at the church at the conclusion of the tour. (Limit: 30 people. Fee: $15 per person, lunch included.)

Tour 5: Eastern State Penitentiary Tour

Date, time:Saturday, January 7, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Meeting site: Marriott’s Room 310 at 1:00 p.m. for a bus to the penitentiary.

Description: Visit the 19th-century prison whose inmates included notorious criminals such as Al Capone. Eastern State opened in 1829 as part of a controversial movement to change the behavior of inmates through “confinement in solitude with labor,” otherwise known as the “Pennsylvania System.” It is estimated that more than 300 prisons worldwide are based on the penitentiary’s radial, panopticon floor plan. After 142 years of consecutive use, Eastern State Penitentiary was completely abandoned in 1971, stabilized and opened for tours in the 1990s, and featured in the film, 12 Monkeys. Tour participants should bear in mind that the Eastern State Penitentiary is an unheated ruin, so bundle up if it’s cold and wear walking shoes! (Fee: $7.50 per person.)

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