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New Americans Tour of Philadelphia

A self-guided journey through the city’s must-visit attractions for new and aspiring citizens

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Independence Hall Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia
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Prepping for the U.S. citizenship test is no small task, but Philadelphia’s self-guided New Americans Tour makes learning easier — and a whole lot more fun.

The city contains approximately half of the answers to the 100-question citizenship test study. This means aspiring citizens and other students of U.S. history can glean the knowledge they seek simply by paying visits to Philly’s historic sites and attractions.

The best place to start is in Philadelphia’s Historic District, Philly’s original city — and a very pedestrian-friendly one at that.

Download the New Americans Tour of Philadelphia

For a printable version of the New Americans Tour of Philadelphia, click the link below.

More Resources for New Americans

The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians offers assistance to immigrants from around the globe. For more information and to browse available resources, click the link below.

01

The Betsy Ross House

The birthplace of the American flag

— Photo courtesy M. Kennedy for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Visit the Betsy Ross House to learn about the upholsterer who’s credited with creating the nation’s original red, white and blue banner. Appearances by Betsy herself and the freed slave Phillis, who toils away in the laundry room, depict the life of working Colonial-era women.

Naturalization Test Tip: The American Flag has 13 red and white stripes to represent the original 13 colonies.

Where: Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

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02

Independence Hall

Birthplace of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Independence Hall is the spot where, in 1776, delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies gathered and adopted the Declaration of Independence to break away from British rule. This spot is also where the U.S. Constitution was debated and adopted in 1787.

Naturalization Test Tip: Rights granted by the Declaration of Independence include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Where: Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut Street

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03

The Liberty Bell Center

Dramatic home of the internationally known symbol of freedom

— Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell Center is home to the cracked but mighty bell that has served as an international symbol of freedom for centuries. A short film in English and eight other languages traces how abolitionists, suffragists and other groups used the bell to represent their important movements.

Where: Liberty Bell Center, 526 Market Street

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04

Congress Hall

Home of the U.S. Congress from 1790 to 1800

Congress Hall Congress Hall
— Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

Congress Hall was the meeting place for the first Congress and the site of George Washington’s and John Adams’ presidential inaugurations. Visitors learn how the Senate and House of Representatives came to be called the “upper” and “lower” houses.

Naturalization Test Tip: Two parts make up the U.S. Congress: the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Where: Congress Hall, 526 Chestnut Street

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05

National Constitution Center

The world’s only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution

— Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia

The National Constitution Center is the place to gain a better understanding of the most influential four-page document in U.S. history. Hands-on activities, artifacts and powerful multimedia productions delve into the roles, responsibilities and evolution of the nation’s three branches of government.

Naturalization Test Tip: Find the answers to nearly half of 100 questions used in the naturalization test among the exhibits and displays at the National Constitution Center.

Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street

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06

Benjamin Franklin Museum

A museum dedicated to the life and legacy of America’s favorite Renaissance man

Benjamin Franklin Museum Benjamin Franklin Museum
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Head to the Benjamin Franklin Museum to learn about the life of the man who signed the Declaration of Independence and helped shape the U.S. Constitution. Interactive exhibits and computer animations reveal how his accomplishments as a printer, inventor, scientist and international diplomat influenced the creation of the American form of government.

Naturalization Test Tip: Be sure to know what made Benjamin Franklin famous. His namesake museum guides visitors through his history as a U.S. diplomat and how he started the first Free Library.

Where: Benjamin Franklin Museum, 317 Chestnut Street

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07

The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation

Commemorating the lives of nine enslaved Africans at the nation’s first executive mansion

The President's House The President's House
— Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation is an open-air venue that explores the paradox of slavery and freedom on the grounds of the remains of the nation’s first executive mansion. Videos tell the stories of Hercules, Oney Judge and the other enslaved people who served George and Martha Washington.

Naturalization Test Tip: George Washington is also known as the “Father of Our Country.”

Where: The President's House, 524 Market Street

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08

Second Bank of the United States

A who’s who of Revolutionary War-era portraiture

Second Bank of the United States Second Bank of the United States
— Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

The Second Bank of the United States houses a permanent exhibition that traces the development of the nation through portraits of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, signers of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution and other significant figures in America’s history.

Where: Second Bank of the United States, 420 Chestnut Street

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09

Independence Seaport Museum

An interactive museum exploring Philadelphia’s maritime heritage

Independence Seaport Museum Independence Seaport Museum
— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

The Olympia (docked at the Independence Seaport Museum) is the world’s oldest surviving steel warship still afloat. This ship led the first victory at sea during the Spanish-American War and was Admiral Dewey’s flagship during the Battle of Manila Bay. The admiral’s quarters, sailors’ sleeping hammocks, gun turrets and other artifacts offer a glimpse into life on the water during the 19th century.

Naturalization Test Tip: The Spanish-American War was fought in the late 1890s and was one of four wars fought by the United States during the 1800s.

Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard

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10

The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Celebrating and interpreting African-American history and culture

The African American Museum in Philadelphia The African American Museum in Philadelphia
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The African American Museum in Philadelphia follows the lives and contributions of people of the African Diaspora. In addition to topical temporary exhibitions, the permanent exhibit Audacious Freedom traces the experiences of African Americans in Philadelphia from 1776 to 1876.

Naturalization Test Tip: The Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom to those enslaved and paved the way for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that officially abolished slavery in the United States.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

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11

National Museum of American Jewish History

Preserving and interpreting the American Jewish experience

National Museum of American Jewish History National Museum of American Jewish History
— Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

The National Museum of American Jewish History follows 360 years of the Jewish immigrant experience and life in America. In the free, first-floor gallery, visitors can see Albert Einstein’s pipe and Steven Spielberg’s first camera.

Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E.

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12

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

A vast collection of history-rich documents

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is an essential resource for anyone searching for information about the history of Pennsylvania and the lives of the people who lived here. With more than 21 million printed and graphic items in its collection, the HSP is a premier center for the documentation and study of ethnic communities and immigrant experiences.

Where: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street

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13

United States Mint

Where pocket change and commemorative coins are made

The U.S. Mint is the brainchild of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and was approved by Congress in 1792. Money is made still here, and the public can explore the building via free self-guided tours.

Where: United States Mint, 151 N. Independence Mall E.

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14

Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

The oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African-Americans

Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church
— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Bishop Richard Allen founded the Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1794. The mother church of the nation’s first black denomination, this active church occupies the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African-Americans.

Where: Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 419 S. 6th Street

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15

Museum of the American Revolution

An expansive collection of art and artifacts from the nation’s Revolutionary Period

The brick exterior of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia The brick exterior of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia
— Photo by J. Fusco for the Museum of the American Revolution

The Museum of the American Revolution houses an archive of artifacts from the battles of the war that created the United States of America. Standout items include General Washington’s headquarters tent, Patrick Henry’s law books and rare arms from both sides of the conflict.

Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 South 3rd Street

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The Betsy Ross House
Independence Hall
The Liberty Bell Center
Congress Hall
National Constitution Center
Benjamin Franklin Museum
The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
Second Bank of the United States
Independence Seaport Museum
The African American Museum in Philadelphia
National Museum of American Jewish History
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
United States Mint
Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
Museum of the American Revolution
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