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Traveling Jewish: Philadelphia Revisited

Last month, my husband and I spent a couple of days revisiting the ‘city of brotherly love.’ Here are some of the highlights:

National Constitution Center on Arch Street (866.917.1787) opened its doors on July 4, 2003. Close to one million people have visited it since. The museum is a marvel of 21st century technology. In the museum’s Kimmel Theater, visitors are presented with a unique multi-media presentation on major constitution themes from 1787 to the present day. In the
American Experience, the way the Constitution has changed, and been changed by, American life, is laid out in family-friendly interactive stations.

Right across the street is the U.S. Mint (215.408.0112), which is celebrating its 210th birthday. The current building, opened in 1969, is the Mint’s fourth location in the city. At the
Mint, visitors can learn about the coin production, from the original design process to the actual ‘striking of the coins.’ Presently, the museum is open to school and veteran’s groups,
however, two week’s advance notice in required. In the aftermath of September 11th, the U.S. Mint has tightened security extensively and for groups smaller than six, there is a special form to be filled out by your Congressman or Senator before a tour can be arranged. The form can be found at www.usmint.org.

A little further down on Arch Street is the home in which Betsy Ross (215-686-1252) lived from 1773 to 1786. On a self-guided tour through the house visitors can see samples of Betsy’s work, the rooms in which she and third husband, John Claypoole lived, and towards the left of the courtyard, their graves.

At the Philadelphia Visitor’s Center (215. 597.8974), the very knowledgeable staff can help plan any visit to the historical district. There is a half-hour video presentation on our founding
fathers and many maps and brochures on all the locations visitors to Philadelphia would want to see.

Editors Note: The main gallery of The National Museum of American Jewish History featured in Traveling Jewish (Feb 20, 2004) is currently closed in preparation for a new exhibit. Visitors to the museum can view models, plans and photos of the new museum, and a movie on the search for Jewish American Identity entitled “It’s Your Story.” The museum’s newest exhibit, Theatrical Realism: The Art of Inez Storer will run from March 14 through June 27. For more information on the exhibit, please visit their website at www.nmajh.org.  

About the Author: Magazine Editor, The Jewish Press


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