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Independence National Historical Park

Philadelphia, is often referred to as the birthplace of our nation.
At the park, visitors can see the Liberty Bell, an international symbol of freedom, and Independence Hall, a World Heritage Site where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were created. In addition, the park interprets events and the lives of the diverse population during the years when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800.
A section of the park where Benjamin Franklin's home once stood is dedicated to teaching about Franklin's life and accomplishments.

Independence National Historical Park was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1948. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Independence NHP covers over 54 acres in Philadelphia’s Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States.
The park is open from 9:00 am daily with the exception of Christmas day. A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets. Here, visitors can pick up a park brochure, park map, and the free, timed tickets required for Independence Hall.

Park Collections and Sites

An accredited museum, the park has almost 3 million items in its collection. Many of these items are on display in buildings and exhibits throughout the park, while others are kept in storage for use by researchers and in future exhibits. The museum technical staff provides collections care for objects installed in 17 historic buildings, five modern buildings and four museum storage areas. Museum collection items range from the best known, such as the Rising Sun Chair and Syng ink stand in Independence Hall, to lesser known items such as architectural elements from demolished buildings or archeological fragments.

Historical buildings that are part of Independence NHP include: Independence Hall (a World Heritage Site), Old City Hall, Congress Hall, First Bank of the United States, Second Bank of the United States, Todd House, Bishop White House, Germantown White House (includes the Deshler Morris House and Bringhurst House), Free Quaker Meeting House, and Merchants' Exchange Building.

Other park buildings and exhibits include: Liberty Bell Center, Franklin Court (which includes the Fragments of Franklin Court exhibit, the Printing Office and the Underground Museum), Great Essentials Exhibit in the West Wing of Independence Hall, Declaration House, New Hall Military Museum, and Independence Living History Center.


Independence NHP also serves as steward to some of Philadelphia’s greatest outdoor public spaces.

Independence Mall runs between 5th and 6th Streets, from Chestnut Street to Race Street. It provides space for buildings such as the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Visitor Center, and National Constitution Center, as well as space for public gatherings and special events.

Independence Square is the city block bounded by 5th Street, Walnut Street, 6th Street, and Chestnut Street. An area that has always included walks and greens for public enjoyment, the block now known as Independence Square was last redesigned in 1915 and is designated an historic landscape.

Washington Square is one of the original squares in the 1682 plan for the City of Philadelphia as designed for William Penn. It became a Potter’s Field or Strangers’ Burial Ground in 1706 and also served as a burial ground for the town’s free and enslaved Africans. During the Revolutionary War it doubled as a military cemetery; more than 2,000 soldiers – both patriots and prisoners of war –were buried there and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution was established in 1953.

Welcome Park, a lesser known area within Independence NHP, borders 2nd Street and is the site of William Penn’s slate roof house, torn down in the 19th century. Today, it provides visitors to Philadelphia with an overview of the city layout and a brief history of William Penn.

Location Visitor Center

Corner of 6th St & Market St.


GPS Coordinates

1 -- Visitor Center
Decimal Lat: 39.951178856 / Lon: -75.15016365



Document Information
Source: NPS; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20110304
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