Independence is a leader in true sustainable partnerships involving a diverse assortment of public, private and governmental organization. Partnerships provide Independence National Historical Park with valuable resources and services that it often cannot provide on its own, and also allow for additional civic engagement by citizens whose voices might not otherwise be heard. As parks across the National Park Service increasingly find themselves having to do more with less, they must turn to partnerships to fill needs that the parks themselves cannot meet, and to help many groups identify with and support park programs. Fortunately, Independence has a strong group of more than 40 partners that it turns to for financial, volunteer and interpretive support.
American Philosophical Society (APS)
APS, this country's first learned society, has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life for over 250 years. Headquartered in Philosophical Hall on Independence Square, the APS works closely with the park and fits into the park's interpretive theme of life in 18th century Philadelphia, then referred to as the "Athens of America," because of the scientific, cultural and artistic activity in the city.
Carpenter's Company of Philadelphia
Carpenters' Hall has been owned and operated by the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia, the oldest trade guild in America, since 1770. The Hall has been home to a host of firsts, including the First Continental Congress. Located entirely within the park, Carpenters Hall is an important site in connection with the events leading to the colonies' Declaration of Independence during the Second Continental Congress.
Christ Church, founded in 1695, is one of the great Georgian structures in America. Christ Church was the religious home to many of the leaders during the Revolutionary War, and is the site of the founding of the American Episcopal Church. At Christ Church, you can sit in the pews of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross. Seven signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried here. Christ Church is operated by a separate nonprofit organization.
Eastern National, is a 501(c)3 organization working with Independence to help connect people to the park through the sale of quality educational products and services. As an extension of the park's interpretive program, Eastern National makes quality educational products available to visitors to help them better understand the park and its resources. Eastern National also partners with the National Park Service in over 150 other parks, and maintains partnerships with other federal and state entities. Profits generated from the retail sales operations are donated to the NPS through an interpretive donations program. Eastern National supports a sharing community of parks, where large parks help support smaller parks, all ensuring that visitors to every park have access to appropriate, site-specific, educational products.
Friends of Independence National Historical Park
The Friends of Independence National Historical Park have a tradition of support for the park since its establishment in 1972, including a substantial contribution to the park in connection with the Bicentennials of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The Friends also funded a permanent archaeological exhibit and created Welcome Park. Additionally, the Friends have purchased many historical documents and artifacts for display in many of the park's buildings.
Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC)
GPTMC, which promotes tourism in the greater Philadelphia Region, has partnered with the park on major events like the move of the Liberty Bell in 2003 and Independence Weekend and the reopening of the Second Bank of the United States in 2004. The park, in turn, has cooperated with GPTMC-sponsored media visits and commercials promoting the region.
Historic Philadelphia, Inc. (HPI) Through a formal partnership with Independence, HPI presents historical "playlets" featuring professional actors hired by HPI. These playlets are reviewed by the Division of Interpretation and Visitors Services for historical and interpretive accuracy, at designated sites within the park. In addition, HPI runs several tours within Independence during the summer, at times and with themes that complement park programs, including Lights of Liberty. The Lights of Liberty show tells the story of America's struggle for independence through the use of state of the art technology to project images up to 50 feet high onto the buildings where the events actually took place.
Independence Visitor Center Corporation (IVCC)
The IVCC is a non-profit organization that operates the Independence Visitor Center on Independence Mall. The Independence Visitor Center serves as the primary point of orientation for tourists to Independence National Historical Park and the Greater Philadelphia region. The IVCC partners with Independence to produce events, initiate programming and manage non-federally funded projects on the Mall. The Independence Visitor Center provides Philadelphia's visitors with convenient amenities to enhance their experience including a 24-hour underground parking, the Pennsylvania General Store Cafe for light refreshments, the Independence Store for themed souvenirs, an automated teller machine and clean restroom facilities. A team of highly trained visitor information specialists are on-site to provide personalized concierge services and user-friendly interactive information kiosks that provide information about cultural attractions, dining and shopping throughout the region. Free historical films and regular appearances by colonial characters create an engaging experience. Tickets are for sale on site for more than twenty regional attractions. The Independence Visitor Center is the only location within the park to pick up the free, timed tickets that are needed for tours of Independence Hall (visit http://www.nps.gov/inde/advance-ticket-information.htm for more information about Independence Hall tickets).
National Constitution Center (NCC)
Located in the third block of Independence Mall in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center tells the story of the U.S. Constitution through more than 100 interactive and multi-media exhibits, photographs, sculpture, text, film and artifacts. The Center shows how much the Constitution has shaped the past, and also how it touches everything in our lives today. Operating in a unique, public-private partnership with the NPS, the National Constitution Center allows visitors to be sworn in as president, slip on the robes of a Supreme Court Justice and decide cases, and walk among the life-sized statues of the 42 delegates who were present at the signing of the Constitution.
Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB)
The PCVB is an independent, non-profit organization, whose mission is to market Philadelphia as a convention, meeting and tourist destination to national and international audiences. The overall objective of the PVCB is to increase visitation, along with its inherent economic benefits, to the entire region. Strong contacts with tour operators nationwide help the park quickly spread word of new programs to operators and their customers.
St. Joseph's Church
Old St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church is Philadelphia's oldest Catholic community. It was founded by Jesuits in 1733 and is still staffed by Jesuits and their lay colleagues. The community has been in continuous existence since 1733. The parish is located in the historic Society Hill section of Philadelphia, just two blocks from Independence Hall.