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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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A post shared by Will Lassiter (@willlassiter) on Apr 13, 2016 at 4:12am PDT
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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A post shared by Phillip Corley (@philcreamcheese) on Mar 14, 2018 at 9:31am PDT
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.
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
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
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for a fall or winter getaway and get overnight accommodations as well as FREE hotel parking and awesome seasonal perks worth up to $198.