• Congress Voting Independence

    Independence

    National Historical Park Pennsylvania

Visiting the Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank

Exterior view of the north facade of the Second Bank of the United States showing eight marble columns topped with a triangular pediment.
This marvel of Greek Revival architecture houses a collection of original portraits of the founding fathers.
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This building houses a fine collection of over 100 portraits, many of them by 18th century artist Charles Willson Peale. Originally built to house the Second Bank of the United States, the building now draws visitors to gaze upon the faces of the "People of Independence".

 
Interior view of the exhibit in the portrait gallery focusing on a statue of George Washington next to portraits of Stephen Decatur and John Witherspoon.

Look for the carved wooden statue of George Washington in the Main Banking Room.

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Location

The Second Bank of the U.S. is located on Chestnut Street, between 4th and 5th Streets. Enter through the doors at the top of the steps, or through the wheelchair accessible ramp on the west side of the building.

Hours

Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fees

Admission is FREE. No tickets are required.

 
Interior view of the Second Bank portrait gallery showing a graphic of Charles Willson Peale in the foreground, and portraits placed high on the wall in the background.

Many of the portraits in the exhibit were once displayed on the second floor of Independence Hall.

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Exhibits

The "People of Independence" exhibit provides a glimpse into the lives of those who prized order and reason, yet lived in a world marked by disease, slavery, and the fear of the unknown. Portraits by artist Charles Willson Peale form the core of the collection. In the early 1800's, these likenesses of "worthy Personages" were exhibited in Peale's Philadelphia Museum, located on the second floor of Independence Hall. Additional portraits by other artists, particularly a number by British pastel artists James and Ellen Sharples, have been added to the collection through the years.

 
Wheelchair accessibility symbol

An accessibility ramp is located on the west side of the building.

Accessibility

The Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank is accessible for visitors with mobility impairments. The accessible entrance ramp is located on the west side of the building. The gallery level is reached via elevator. Accessible restrooms are located in the basement near the elevator. Learn more about the accessibility services offered throughout the park on our website.
 
Portrait of Thayendenegea shown wearing his black hair in a scalp lock decorated with feathers and flowers.

Joseph Brant/Thayendenegea by Charles Willson Peale, 1797.

Independence National Historical Park

Additional resources

Interested in learning more about the building and the portraits? Additional information is available on our website. Look for pictures in the Photos and Multimedia section.

Did You Know?

Photo of Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds, is made of bronze, its strike note is an E-flat, and that the large “crack” is actually a repair. This large “crack” and the inscription around the top “Proclaim Liberty” has made the Bell an international symbol of freedom.