Public Reading of Declaration of Independence


Independence National Historical Park Commemorates First Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence

Print out a copy of the Declaration

Each year, on July 8, you are invited to join the staff of Independence National Historical Park to commemorate the anniversary of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. This free event begins at 11:30 AM with an introduction by a park ranger and will be held just behind Independence Hall. An American Sign Language interpreter be interpreting the event for our hearing impaired visitors.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the Declaration of Independence inside the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall). Four days later, on July 8th, the citizens of Philadelphia were summoned to the State House Yard by the bells of the city. At 12:00 noon, Colonel John Nixon publicly read the Declaration of Independence for the first time. Following the event and continuing long into the night the bells of the city rang in celebration.

Visitors are invited to experience the sights and sounds of that dramatic day in 1776. Put on your tri-cornered hat and come prepared to cheer or jeer! Costumed National Park Service rangers will mingle with the crowds and distribute free copies of the Declaration of Independence. Following the event, both uniformed and costumed park rangers will be available for interviews and photographs. The rain location will be Congress Hall (seating limited to 150), located just next to Independence Hall.

July 8th 1776 public reading.
July 8th 2009



Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106


(215) 965-2305
Use this number to talk to a park ranger at the visitor center desk for park information. Park rangers are available for calls daily from 8:30am to 5pm. During heavy visitation, park rangers are assisting other visitors and may not be able to answer the phone right away. For information about lodging and restaurants, contact the city concierge staff at 800-537-7676.

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