National Constitution Center
25 Arch St., 215/409-6700
HOURS: Mon.–Fri. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m.,
Sun. noon–5 p.m.
COST: $12 adult, $11 senior, $8 child, free for children ages 4 and under and active military personnel
The modern National Constitution Center stands out among the area’s countless 17th- and 18th-century attractions. It is the only national museum entirely dedicated to telling the story of the U.S. Constitution, the seminal document that was drafted just a block away in Independence Hall.
The National Constitution Center opened on July 4, 2003, and immediately became one of the area’s most popular attractions, bringing in more than a million visitors a year. Inscribed on the outside of the two-story structure are the first three words of the Constitution, “We the People.”
A visit begins with Freedom Rising, a live-actor show complete with film, music, and lights that runs twice an hour. The show is pretty Hollywood, complete with dramatic voiceovers and music, but it’s actually quite captivating and—dare I say—inspirational. The round theater is surrounded by a 360-degree exhibit space, where you can learn more than you were ever taught about the Constitution and the events, people, and ideas that formed it and remain part of our government today.
Photographs, artifacts, and an original copy of the Constitution are on display. You can participate in interactive and multimedia exhibits, like trying on the judicial robes, taking a photograph of yourself projected realistically on a screen while taking the presidential oath of office, and voting for your favorite president.
In Signers’ Hall, life-size bronze figures of the Constitution’s signers and dissenters are on display, and you choose for yourself whether to sign or dissent. It would take days to read everything on display, so you’ll have to pick and choose, and allow a few hours to wander.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition