Attraction

Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent

Philadelphia history lives near Independence Hall

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Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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Overview

Note: The Philadelphia History Museum is closed until further notice.

Experience the city’s past at the Philadelphia History Museum.

The historic 1826 building, located just around the corner from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, has been an exciting gateway into Philadelphia history for nearly 70 years.

Guests can enjoy handsomely designed galleries and encounter over 400 objects from the museum’s vast collection of over 100,000 pieces of the past.

Three hundred years of Philadelphia history come alive through a variety of interactive features and priceless objects on display, including the wampum belt that the Lenni Lenape Indians gave to William Penn in 1682.

The History

John Haviland, the architect behind Eastern State Penitentiary, designed the building.

John Haviland, who was also the architect of Eastern State Penitentiary, designed the 1826 Greek Revival building.

A. Atwater Kent, a wealthy inventor who manufactured early radios in Philadelphia, bought the building, the original home of the Franklin Institute, in 1938. He then gave it to the city to establish the Philadelphia History Museum, an institution dedicated to Philadelphia’s cultural and industrial history.

Kent aimed to celebrate the city’s past and inspire the future.

Don’t Miss

Be sure to check out Experience Philadelphia, the world’s largest map of the city, stretching across an entire gallery floor. In just a few steps, visitors can travel from South Philadelphia to Montgomery County and learn a bit of history along the way.

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