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Once Upon a Nation

History that speaks to you

A storytelling bench in Historic Philadelphia Credit: By G. Widman for GPTMC



Discover the true stories scattered in Philadelphia’s Historic District in the places the actually happened with Once Upon A Nation™.

Throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District, you’ll find ten 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.

A fun and family-friendly activity, children can collect stars for their Story Flag at each bench on their journey. Completed flags can be redeemed at the Historic Philadelphia Center, Franklin Square or the Betsy Ross House for a History Hero Certificate and a free carousel ride at Franklin Square.

Bench Locations & Hours

Storytellers can be found at the ten, signature benches in Historic Philadelphia from:
May 25–27, Memorial Day Weekend: 11am-4pm
May 31–June 15: Fridays and Saturdays: 11am-4pm
June 18–August 10: Tuesdays – Saturdays: 11am-4pm
August 16–31, Fridays and Saturdays: 11am-4pm
September 1 & 2: 11am-4pm

Benches are located at:
1. Independence Visitor Center
2. Historic Philadelphia Center
3. Independence Square, behind Independence Hall
4. PNC Bank Storytelling Bench in Signers’ Garden
5. The ACE Charitable Foundation Storytelling Bench at Carpenters’ Hall
6. Franklin Court
7. Christ Church
8. Betsy Ross House
9. The Lincoln Storytelling Bench at the National Constitution Center
10. Wawa Storytelling Bench in 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.

Operating hours are:
Memorial Day Weekend, May 25 – 27: 11am-4pm
June 1–9: Saturdays & Sundays, 11am-4pm
June 15–August 18, daily: 11am-4pm
August 24, 25, 31 & September 1 & 2: 11am-4pm
September 7-October 27, Saturdays & Sundays: 11am-4pm

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