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Independence Seaport Museum

An interactive museum exploring Philadelphia’s maritime heritage

Independence Seaport Museum

The Olympia and Becuna on display at the Independence Seaport Museum. Credit: Independence Seaport Museum

Description

The Experience

With historic vessels to board, an underwater ROV to maneuver and a mock cannon to fire, Philadelphia’s maritime museum conveys what the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers have meant to the city over the years. Along with displays that chronicle the city’s contributions to naval and commercial maritime history, there are exhibits about what makes boats float, the China trade and local small craft.

Berthed right outside are the OLYMPIA, the nation’s oldest floating steel warship (1892), most famous for being Admiral Dewey’s flagship during his Spanish-American war victory in Manila Bay, and the BECUNA, a classic World War II submarine that fought battles in the South Pacific. Workshop on the Water is a working boat shop where you can watch artisans building and restoring traditional wooden boats.

History

The museum, dedicated to exploring the maritime history of the Delaware River, the Delaware Bay and tributaries, opened on Philadelphia’s waterfront in July 1995 after more than 35 years of rich history as the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. In 1996, the museum assumed responsibility for the OLYMPIA and BECUNA, which are both designated as National Historic Landmarks.

Great Kids’ Stuff

It’s easier for kids than parents to shimmy through the hatches of the submarine USS BECUNA. They can imagine being in command here.

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