National Constitution Center
Visitors are first given a 17-minute civics lesson via the multimedia stage show Freedom Rising, narrated by a live actor and performed in the round. Visitors continue through the center exploring such exhibits as the black robe of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. An always popular attraction is the Signer’s Hall, a room full of 42 life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers, while the big-ticket draw is the original copy of the first public printing of the Constitution. There are 24 other copies of this printing around the world, but only a few are on public display.
Visits to the National Constitution Center are often included on history themed walking tours of Philadelphia, offering a great way of tying in the signing of the Constitution to other historic events. Admission is included in many Philadelphia sightseeing passes, which lets you visit multiple attractions while saving on admission fees.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Constitution Center offers an experience that is educational as well as entertaining: ideal for children.
- The center is wheelchair accessible; service animals are welcome.
- There is a café on site, as well as a branch of Starbucks.
- Free Wi-Fi is available in the museum.
- The copy of the Constitution is occasionally stored to give it a rest from light exposure, and is briefly replaced with a high-resolution reproduction.
How to Get There
The National Constitution Center is centrally located and within walking distance of many other Philadelphia attractions and major hotels. If traveling by public transportation, use the Market-Frankford Line subway and get off at 5th Street Station, or use the Route 38, Route 44, or Route 48 buses. If driving, find paid parking on site.
When to Get There
The National Constitution Center is open seven days a week, year-round (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day). Opening hours are 9:30 am to 5 pm (12 pm to 5 pm on Sundays). Try to time your visit for earlier in the day when there are typically fewer crowds. A great time to visit is on a civic holiday, for which the center hosts special festivities.
Steeped in history, Philadelphia’s historic district is home to many notable attractions. Within a short strolling distance of the National Constitution Center, you can learn more about the founding of the United States and its struggle for independence by visiting such sites as Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, and more. Enhance your experience and deepen your understanding by joining a guided tour.
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