New Hall Military Museum
A history of America’s early aversion to, but respect for, military entanglements
The recreation of the original home of the Secretary of the Army is curiously small, given the significance of the American Revolution. But early Americans were wary of the military, since their history in colonial times with soldiers and sailors was unpleasant. The artifacts and displays here cleave to that theme. They show that early naval and military build ups were only reactions to attacks, not offensive actions.
Actually, the Navy here has more exhibit space than the Army, since it was at sea that American commerce was more threatened in the country’s early years. The Marines also get their due here in a first-floor exhibit called “Marines in the Revolution.”
New Hall was an early government building in 1791, constructed by the Carpenters Company in 1791. Secretary of War Henry Knox moved his headquarters there, but his department was so small, he shared the building with the Carpenters Company, which held its guild meetings there. The building was demolished and rebuilt to its original specifications in the 1950s and 1960s as part of the Independence National Historical Park renovations.
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Insider Tip Post-Revolutionary America was hardly militaristic. An exhibit shows that at one point after the War, there were only 87 soldiers in the Army.
Some Kids’ Stuff
Each day, park rangers do a program called “A Soldier’s Life,” explaining the military to youngsters.
In the neighborhood
One Dock Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Best Western Independence Park Hotel
- Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
- Holiday Inn Express
- Hotel Monaco Philadelphia
- Omni at Independence Park
- Penn’s View Hotel
- Hyatt Regency Philadelphia
at Penn’s Landing
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Museums & Attractions
20 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- American Philosophical Society Museum
- Arch Street Friends Meeting House
- Elfreth’s Alley
- Philadelphia Orchestra
Free Neighborhood Concert Series
- 2014 Fringe Festival
- Independence Visitor Center
- Mikveh Israel Congregation and Cemetery
- Benjamin Franklin Museum
- The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
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