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Second Bank of the United States

A who’s who of Revolutionary War-era portraiture

Second Bank

The Second Bank is known for its extensive collection of portraits by Charles Willson Peale. Credit: B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia


The Experience

This place packs a large punch in a relatively small space. Most important, it played a pivotal role in American history (see History, below). It’s also a genuine architectural treasure -modeled on the Parthenon and the standard-bearer for many subsequent American bank buildings.

Finally, it’s the repository for an extraordinary collection of portraits of the men so vital to 18th-century America’s development. Included in that list: Declaration of Independence signers Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Mifflin, and Robert Morris; and paintings of Lafayette, Patrick Henry, and Casimir Pulaski.


The Second Bank earned its place in history in 1832, when President Andrew Jackson vetoed a bill seeking to re-charter the Bank because he viewed it as an unconstitutional monopoly. Running for reelection, Jackson made his anti-bank stance a critical issue of his campaign and handily defeated opponent Henry Clay.

Other Information

Open Wednesday – Sunday

Insider Tip

Eighty-five of the portraits on view here are by Charles Willson Peale, early America’s most famous portraitist.

Kids’ stuff

Kids will be intrigued by the pine sculpture of George Washington, as well as his original death mask.

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