Once Upon a Nation
History that speaks to you
May 28 – September 5, 2016 (select days)
Discover the true stories scattered throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District in the places they actually happened with Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches.
Throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District, you’ll find 13 storyteller benches featuring free, five-minute tales and secret stories told by uniformed, professional storytellers.
For example, everyone knows that Betsy Ross stitched the United States’ first flag, but not too many realize that the famous seamstress was a three-time widow, an entrepreneur and a munitions maker. Few know that Independence Hall, the birthplace of the nation, once had a museum on the second floor that housed a mastodon skeleton.
Children can pick up a Story Flag at any storytelling bench, then collect a star from every storyteller on their journey. Flags with all the stars can be redeemed for a History Hero Certificate and a free carousel ride on the Parx Liberty Carousel at Franklin Square.
Bench Locations & Hours
Storytellers can be found at the 13 signature benches in Historic Philadelphia at:
1. Independence Visitor Center
2. Independence Square, behind Independence Hall
3. Signer’s Garden
4. Second Bank
5. 18th-Century Garden
6. Powel House
7. The ACE Charitable Foundation Storytelling Bench at Carpenters’ Hall
8. Franklin Court
9. Christ Church
10. Betsy Ross House
11. Arch Street Meeting House
12. The Lincoln Financial Storytelling Bench at the National Constitution Center
13. Wawa Storytelling Bench at Franklin Square
Once Upon A Nation Valley Forge
Keep an eye out for two Once Upon A Nation storytelling benches in Valley Forge National Park and discover the riveting stories of the encampment and how it became a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
Benches are located at the Visitor Center and Train Station at Washington’s Headquarters.
For more information on the Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches, please click the button below.
In the neighborhood
401 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Penn’s View Hotel
- Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel
- Holiday Inn Express
- Best Western Plus: Independence Park Hotel
- Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
- Hilton Philadelphia
at Penn’s Landing
- Hotel Monaco Philadelphia
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Museums & Attractions
239 Arch Street
The American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Physick House
- The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia
- The African American Museum
- Independence National Historical Park
- Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
- Tin Angel
- Independence Seaport Museum
- The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
- Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining