Superintendent's Compendium

Here you will find the 2018 Superintendent’s Compendium Of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority. Approved by Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent.

In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 54 United States Code, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Independence National Historical Park (INDE), Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site (EDAL), Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial (THKO) and Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site (GLDE). Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7. Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.

 

Table of Contents

I. 36 CFR §1.5 – Buildings and Grounds Closures and Public Use Limits

A. Visiting Hours for Buildings

B. Buildings Public Access

C. Grounds and Public Access

Closed Captioned Television (CCTV) Monitoring Policy

II. General Regulations

36 CFR §1.6 – Permits

36 CFR §2.1 – Preservation of Natural, Cultural, and Archeological Resources

§ 2.2 – Wildlife Protection

§2.4 – Weapons, Traps, and Nets

§2.5 – Research Specimens

§2.10 – Camping and Food Storage

§2.11 – Picnicking

§2.12 – Audio Disturbances

§2.13 – Fires

§ 2.14 – Sanitation and Refuse

§2.15 – Pets

§2.17 – Aircraft and Air Delivery

§2.18 – Snowmobiles

§2.20 – Skating, Skateboards, and Similar Devices

§2.21 – Smoking

§2.22 – Property

§2.35 – Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances

§2.37 – Noncommercial Soliciting

§2.38 – Explosives

§2.62 – Memorialization

36 CFR §4. – Vehicles and Traffic Safety

III. Special Park Uses (36 CFR §2.50 – Special Events; 36 CFR §2.51 – Public Assemblies)

A. 36 CFR §2.50 – Special Events

B. 36 CFR §2.51 – Public Assemblies

C. Policy for Private Events in Independence National Historical Park

D. Special Attention Request Policy (SARs)

IV. 36 CFR §2.52 – Sale and Distribution of Printed Matter

A. Sale of Printed Materials

B. Distribution of Printed Material

V. 36 CFR §5.1 – Commercial Notices or Advertisements

VI. 36 CFR §5.3 – Business Operations

VII. Filming and Photography

A. 36 CFR §5.5(a) – Motion Pictures and Television

B. 43 CFR §5.4 – News-Gathering Activities

C. 36 CFR §5.5(b) – Still Photography

 

I. 36 CFR §1.5 – Buildings and Grounds Closures and Public Use Limits

A. Visiting Hours for Buildings

During most of the year those buildings and/or portions of buildings whose visitation is controlled by the National Park Service and which have not been designated as closed to the public are open for public visitation. Hours vary and are extended for some facilities. From time to time because of staffing shortages, special activities, severe weather, mechanical failures, or for maintenance purposes, or for any number of unanticipated circumstances, buildings may be closed to the public. The public will be notified of this by the posting of appropriate signs, via the Internet at www.nps.gov/inde, by a park representative, or they may call the Independence Visitor Center at 800-537-7676 during normal operating hours for information.

Some considerations are:

Unless hereinafter noted, normal public use building hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., however some less visited facilities have restricted hours of operation. Access into the secure portions of Independence Square begins at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets.

During the summer season, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center may be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (NOTE - The actual hours and the beginning and ending dates may vary from year to year due to available staffing. Check the park’s website for up to date information: www.nps.gov/inde or call 215-965-2305. You may also check at the Independence Visitor Center on the day of your visit.)

Except for the changes listed herein, the Independence Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

On Thanksgiving Day only Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center are open for public visitation.

On Christmas Eve park buildings close at 3:00 p.m.

On Christmas Day park buildings will be closed.

On New Year’s Day only Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, and the Independence Visitor Center are open for public visitation. Hours of operation may vary.

On Martin Luther King's Birthday and on Presidents' Day only Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and the Independence Visitor Center are open for public visitation.

The City Tavern hours are controlled by the Concessionaire (215-413-1443). Generally it is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Hours of operation for the Edgar Allan Poe NHS, Germantown White House and Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial are limited and may vary.

These building visiting hours were determined to be in the best interests of the park and are necessary for the proper management of the park.

 

B. Buildings Public Access

The Superintendent has determined that public access to some park buildings and grounds may be prohibited or restricted for one or more of the following reasons. Access restrictions to buildings and grounds noted in this section and the following section are coded to reference one of the below justifications:

a) To protect public health and safety
b) For purposes of resource protection
c) Staffing limitations
d) The facility, portion of facility or grounds are not designed or intended for public use
e) For security purposes, including danger of theft or risk of damage to resources

311 - 317 Walnut Street:

  • Buildings are closed to the public. (d)

  • The architectural study collection is open by appointment only. (d)


319-325 Walnut Street:

  • The second and third floors are closed to the public. (d)

  • The Independence Park Institute and Independence Archeology Lab (the basement and first floor) are open to the public by reservation only. (c)

339-341 Walnut Street:
This is an office building and is closed to visitation. Persons having business within are permitted to enter. (d)

Benjamin Franklin National Memorial:
This memorial statue is in an area open to the public at no charge; however, the Franklin Institute, within whose buildings it sits, regulates the hours of visitation. See www.fi.edu for more information.

Bishop White House (309 Walnut St.):
The public may visit certain areas by guided tour only. All other areas are closed to the public. To protect collections, each November, CRM staff will deinstall the kitchen ell of the house and reinstall it the following April. During that time, the house will be closed to special request tours. (b) (c)

Bond House (129 S. 2nd St.):
The Bond House is a leased building under the Historic Leasing Act and is currently being used as a bed and breakfast Inn. The managers of the Bond House establish closures.

Bringhurst House (5448 Germantown Ave.):

  • The 1st floor exhibits, theater, gift shop and rest-rooms are open to the public when the Deshler-Morris House is open.

  • The 2nd floor office space and meeting room and park housing is restricted to NPS staff and park volunteers. (d)

Carpenters’ Hall:
Although located within the boundaries of INDE, Carpenters’ Hall is not owned or managed (including closures) by the National Park Service. The building’s owners establish closures.

Chilled Water Plant:
All areas are closed to the public. (d)

Christ Church and Christ Church Burial Ground:
Although located within the boundaries of INDE, Christ Church is not owned or managed by the National Park Service. The building’s owners establish closures.

City Tavern (138 S. 2nd St.):

  • City Tavern is a restaurant operated by a concessionaire.

  • All areas in the basement are closed to the public with the exception of the dining area, stairway and corridor leading to the restrooms and the restrooms themselves. (d)

  • All first floor areas are open to the public except: the area behind the bar, the kitchen, the fire stairs (excluding fire emergencies) and all closets. (a) (d)

  • All second floor areas are open except: all closets, the kitchen area, and the fire stairway (excluding fire emergencies). (a) (d)

  • All areas above the second floor are closed to public visitation with the exceptions of the third floor restrooms, and for persons having business in the third floor office area. (d)


Congress Hall:
The following areas are closed to the public:

  • All basement areas and all access ways to said area. (d)

  • All closets. (d)

  • The area behind the roped off seating area and the raised dais area on the first floor. (b)

  • The balcony between the first and second floors and the balcony in the Senate Chamber. (a) (b)

  • All areas with the exceptions of the corridor, the Committee Rooms viewing areas and the viewing area in front of the barrier in the Senate Chamber. (b)

  • The attic and cupola. (a) (b) (d)


Declaration House:

  • All basement areas are closed with the exception of the restrooms (opened upon request). (d)

  • On the first floor, all areas are open to the public with the exception of closets, areas behind displays, the area behind the Ranger desk, and the projection booth in the theater. (b) (d) (e)

  • On the second floor all areas are open except: closets, areas behind exhibits, and exhibit rooms. (b)

  • All areas above the second floor are closed to the public. (d)

  • The area directly west of the building is closed except as an emergency exit. (d)


Dock Street Buildings:
The buildings are closed to the public.

East Wing of Independence Hall:
The following areas are closed to the public:

  • All basement areas and all access ways to it. (d)

  • All closets on the first floor. (d)

  • All areas above the first floor. (d)


Edgar Allan Poe NHS (530 and 532 N. 7th Streets and the building behind 530 N. 7th St.):

  • The historic Poe House is open to the public. Visitors will be instructed as to which portions of the building they may enter. All other areas are closed to the public. (a) (b)

  • The following areas of 530 and 532 N. Seventh St. are closed to public visitation: the basements of both 530 and 532 with the exception of the public restrooms, the areas west of the restrooms in 530, all closets, storage rooms, the projection room located on the first floor of 530 and 532, and all stairs leading to other levels of the building with the exception of the stairs leading to the restrooms in 530 or stairs used in conjunction with a tour. (a) (b) (d)

  • Park housing is closed to the public. (d)

  • Parking is prohibited on Wistar Street. (a) (b)


Electric Power Substation, 2nd Block of Independence Mall:
This area is controlled by the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO). All areas are closed to the public.

First Bank of the United States:
All areas are closed to the public. (a)

First Block Restroom Facility (corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets):
The central service room is closed to the public. (d)
The central service room is closed to the public (d) with the restroom at the corner of 5th and Chestnut closed until further notice. Upon reopening the public restrooms, the central service room is closed to the public.

Franklin Court:

  • 314 Market Street: All areas of this building are closed to public visitation except the staircase leading to the IPI classroom. (d)

  • 316 Market Street (Post Office): This building is partially leased to and operated by the U.S. Postal Service. All areas of this building are closed to the public with the exception of the first floor Post Office (the area behind the sales desk is not open to the public) and the second floor classroom which is open by reservation only. (d)

  • 318 Market Street (Architectural-Archeological Exhibits): All floors of this building are open to the public, only within designated viewing areas during open hours. (b)

  • 320 Market Street (Print Shop): All areas of this building are closed to the public except the viewing area in front of the railing in the first floor Print Shop. Persons having business in the second floor offices are permitted to enter this area with prior approval of the NPS. The fire tower behind this building is closed to the public except during emergency egress situations. (b) (d)

  • 322 Market Street (Book Bindery and Aurora Office): All areas of this building are closed to the public except the designated public viewing area in the first floor Book Bindery and the corridor alongside the Aurora Office. (b)

  • Ben Franklin Museum: All areas of this building are closed to the public except the main lobby (the area behind the ticket desk is not open to the public), stairs, elevator and lower level restrooms and exhibit space. (b) (e)


Free Quaker Meeting House:

  • Basement, subbasement and balcony areas are closed to the public. (a) (d)

  • First floor is open to the public during hours when building is staffed. (c)


Germantown White House (Deshler-Morris House, 5442 Germantown Ave.):
The following areas are closed to the public: all basement and access ways to said area, closets on the first and second floors, areas behind the ropes on the first and second floors, and third floor and access ways to said area. (b) (c)

Gloria Dei Church:
Although located within the boundaries of INDE, Gloria Dei Church is not owned or managed by the National Park Service. The building’s owners establish closures. See www.old-swedes.org for more information.

Independence Hall:
Independence Hall is open by tour only. The following areas are closed to the public:

  • All basement areas. (d)

  • All closets. (d)

  • The area behind the railings in the Supreme Court Chamber and Assembly Room on the first floor. (b)

  • The area behind the railings in the Governor’s Council Chamber and Committee Room on the 2nd floor. (b)

  • The attic and tower, levels 2 through 7, and the access ways to said area. (a) (b) (d)


Independence Hall Tower SUPT-015
Access into the Tower is only authorized for the following:

  • Staff only of VRP for daily security and resource management monitoring.
  • Staff only of CRM as may be needed for resource management monitoring as scheduled and directed by CRM supervisors.
  • Staff only of APM for repairs, cleaning or maintenance as scheduled by APM supervisors in response to work orders.
  • Park staff and invited guests for ceremonial scheduled bell ringing, such as July 4th.


Entrance for any other reason into the Tower of Independence Hall, including admittance of non-park staff as guests or contractors, may only be authorized by the following:

  • Superintendent/Deputy Superintendent
  • Chief of APM
  • Chief Ranger/Deputy Chief Ranger
  • Chief of Cultural Resources
  • Public Affairs Officer
  • Safety Officer
  • Administrative Officer
  • Chief of Interpretation & Education
  • In the absence of any of the above – any officially designated Acting
  • Superintendent


Independence Park Institute:
The IPI learning spaces are open to the public by reservation only. (c)

Independence Visitor Center:

  • All basement areas exclusive of the parking garage are closed to the public. (d)

  • All closets, storerooms, mechanical/electrical rooms, equipment areas between exhibits, fire stairs (except in an emergency) and areas behind the information/sales desks and coffee bar counter, on the first floor are closed to the public. (a) (d) (e)

  • Theaters, when not in use, are also closed to the public. (a) (e)

  • The NPS special exhibit area may be closed periodically for exhibit work/installation. (a)

  • All areas on the second floor and all areas above the second floor with the exception of the stairs leading to the pre-assembly mezzanine and terraces are closed to the public (terraces may be closed for special event use). Persons having business in the second floor office area are permitted to enter. (d)

  • The Independence Visitor Center roof terrace/balcony may be closed to the public during parades or large public gatherings. (a)

  • Dining table occupancy in the ground floor café is not to exceed two (2) hours.

Purposely using any part of the facility for the express purpose of sleeping is prohibited.

  • The Independence Visitor Center Theaters are closed to public occupancy outside of times in which park films are actively being shown.


Leithgow Street Buildings (230 and 232 Leithgow St.):
All areas are closed to the public. (d)

Liberty Bell Center:
The main exhibit areas on the first floor and the classroom (for special programs) are open to the public. All other areas of the building, including the enclosed area surrounding the Bell, are closed to public visitation. (d)

Locust Street Buildings (408, 410, 413, 415, 421 and 423 Locust St.):
All areas are closed to the public. (d)

Maintenance Facility (275 S. 5th St.):
The maintenance building is closed to the public. Persons having business within the facility are permitted to enter. (d)

Military Museum (New Hall):
The following areas are closed to the public:

  • All basement areas, with the exception of the public restrooms and the stairway and hallway leading to them. (d)

  • Areas behind exhibits on the first floor. (b)

  • All closets, areas behind exhibits, and rooms not containing exhibits, on the second floor. (b) (d)

  • All areas above the second floor. (d)


National Constitution Center / Independence Transportation Center / Third Block Underground Parking Garage:
Although located within the boundaries and owned by the National Park Service, it is not managed by the National Park Service. The building’s managers establish closures.

Old City Hall:
The following areas are closed to the public:

  • All basement areas and all access ways to it. (d)

  • All closets. (d)

  • The area behind the rail in the Supreme Court Chamber, on the first floor. (b)

  • The balcony between the first and second floors. (a) (b)

  • All second floor areas and the stairway to it. Persons having business in the second floor offices are permitted to enter this area with prior approval of the NPS. (d)

  • Attic and cupola. (a) (b) (d)


Parking Garage and Associated Shops and Theater (2nd St.):
This area is leased to and controlled by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). The PPA and/or its subleases regulate closures and hours of operation.

Parking Garage and Great Room (2nd Block of Independence Mall):
This area is leased to and controlled by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). The PPA regulates closures and hours of operation. The NPS storage area within the garage is closed to the public.

Pemberton House:
All areas are closed to the public. (d)

Philadelphia Merchants Exchange (Park Headquarters):
Offices are closed to the public. Persons having business within are permitted to enter. A visitor exhibit area on the first floor is open to the public during business hours. (d)

Philosophical Hall and Library Hall:
Although located within the boundaries of INDE, these American Philosophical Society buildings are not managed (including closures) by the National Park Service. See www.amphilsoc.org for more information.

Second Bank of the United States:
All areas other than the portrait gallery, public restrooms and the handicap accessible entrance to the gallery are closed to the public. (b) (d)

St. George's Church:
Although located within the boundaries of INDE, St. George's Church is not owned or managed by the National Park Service. The building’s owners establish closures.

St. Joseph's Church:
Although located within the boundaries of INDE, St. Joseph's Church is not owned or managed by the National Park Service. The building’s owners establish closures.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial:

  • In the basement all areas are closed with the exception of the public restrooms and the corridor leading to them. (d)

  • On the first floor all areas are open to the public with the exception of closets, and the area behind the information desk. (e)

  • On the second floor all areas are open to the public with the exception of closets and the enclosed exhibit area. (b)

  • All areas above the second floor are closed to the public. (d)


Todd House:
The public may visit certain areas by guided tour only. All other areas are closed to the public. (b) (c)

Washington Square:
All structures in Washington Square are closed to the public. The fountain is closed to swimming, wading, or bathing for both humans and pets. (d)

West Wing of Independence Hall:
The first floor is open to the public. The following areas are closed:

  • All basement areas and all access ways to it. (d)

  • All closets on the first floor. (d)

  • All areas above the first floor. (d)


NOTES:

  • Due to the heightened security, access to the Liberty Bell Center, the northern most half of Independence Square including Independence Hall, East and West Wings, and Congress Hall is restricted. Prior to entry into any of these secure areas of the park, visitors must be screened. (e)

  • Security measures are periodically evaluated and may change at the discretion of park management. (e)

  • Because of these changes and other special activities which may occur at any time, it may be necessary to revise this section on short notice. In all cases the public will be given as much notice of these changes as possible. (e) (a)

  • All roof areas and building components not designed for visitor use are closed to the public. (a)


These public access determinations are established to ensure the safety and security of park visitors, staff, and resources and are necessary for the proper management of the park.

 

C. Grounds and Public Access

All grounds areas within the boundaries of Independence National Historical Park are open to the public on a 24-hour per day basis except as listed below:

  • All construction staging areas are closed to the public. These areas are fenced with green painted plywood, chain link or orange snow fencing. Construction is also designated by scaffolding and fabric covered scaffolding.(a) (e)

  • Visitors and pets are prohibited from entering flower or ground cover beds. (b)

  • Engaging in sports activity is prohibited if it reasonably could endanger other park users, or if the activity is damaging resources, i.e., turf areas and trees. At no time shall equipment, lighting, ropes or other items be tied to trees. (a) (b)

  • The Jefferson Garden area north of Library Hall is managed by the American Philosophical Society and is closed to the public. (d)

  • The grounds area directly behind the Todd House and 339 Walnut St. offices bounded on the north by the south sidewalk of Harmony St. is closed to the public between midnight and 5:00 a.m. (a) (b) (e)

  • The 18th Century Garden located west of 325 Walnut St. is closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The areas behind the fences located directly behind the Bishop White House, 313 Walnut St. and 325 Walnut St. are closed to the public. (a) (b)

  • The Benjamin Rush Garden located just east of the Bishop White House is closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The St. Joseph's Church grounds located on the southeast corner of 4th and Walnut Streets are closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The St. George's Church grounds located behind St. George's Church are closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The Franklin Court Courtyard is closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The Declaration House Courtyard is closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. The grounds area immediately to the west of the Declaration House is closed to the public at all times except for emergency egress. (a) (b)

  • The grounds at the Germantown White House (Deshler-Morris and Bringhurst Houses) are closed to the public whenever the buildings are closed and open at other times by tour only. (a) (b) (c)

  • The Gloria Dei grounds are closed from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (a) (b)

  • The Christ Church grounds and Garden are closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The grounds areas behind 230 and 232 Leithgow St. and 413, 415, 421 and 423 Locust St. are closed to the public. (d)

  • The parking area north of 230 Leithgow St. is closed to the public. (d)

  • The parking area west of 423 Locust St. is closed to the public. (d)

  • The Rose Garden located between Walnut and Locust Streets in the 400 block is closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The grounds behind 408 and 410 Locust St. are closed to the public. (d)

  • The Magnolia Garden in the 400 block of Locust St. is closed to the public whenever the gates are closed. (a) (b)

  • The Maintenance Facility courtyard is closed to the public. (d)

  • The Poe House grounds located just west of Seventh Street, between Spring Garden and Green Streets, are closed to the public except when admitted by the Poe House Staff. (a) (b) (c)

  • The City Tavern grounds are closed to the public from the close of business to 5:00 a.m. (a) (b)

  • The storage area immediately north of the Bond House is closed to the public. (d)

  • The grounds area of the Mikveh Israel Cemetery located between 8th and Darian Streets, and between Spruce and Locust Streets are closed to the public except when admitted by a person designated by the Mikveh Israel Trust. (a) (b) (c)

  • All fountains are closed to the public. (a) (d)

  • The parking area west of the Christ Church Garden is closed to the public, except during church services. (d)

  • For safety reasons, the following streets located within the park boundaries are closed to vehicular traffic, except for authorized administrative use, or unless a special permit has been issued by the Superintendent or their designated representative (VRP). (a) (e)

a) The access road located behind Congress Hall.

b) Library St., located behind the Second Bank of the United States, running east from 5th St.

c) The access road leading to Carpenters' Hall.

d) Harmony St., located north of Walnut St. and south of Chestnut St., running from 4th to 3rd Streets.

e) Orianna St., running from the gates of Franklin Court on Market St. to said areas intersection with Harmony St. to the south.

f) Dock St., located north of Walnut St. and south of Chestnut St., running from 3rd St. to Walnut St.

g) Sansom St., located north of Walnut St. and south of Chestnut St., running from 2nd St., east to said areas intersection with Hancock St.

h) Moravian St., located north of Walnut St. and south of Chestnut St., running from its intersection with Dock St. to 2nd St.

i) Wistar Street located on the south side of the Edgar Alan Poe house, running from Seventh Street and within the fenced area.

j) The access roads on the 1st and 2nd Blocks of the Mall are closed to the public except as authorized through a Special Use Permit.

  • Vehicles are prohibited from park property unless specifically authorized or for the purposes of operations and maintenance. Parking in the park is prohibited at all times, except by special permit or for authorized use. (b)

  • No vehicles should be driven within 20 feet of park buildings unless the building has a specifically designated loading bay. (e)

  • Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMD) (a)(b)
    Segways and other brands of EPAMD are considered motor vehicles as defined under 36 C.F.R. § 1.4. Therefore, pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(a), 4.10(a) the Park will not allow the recreational use of Segways and other EPAMD within the park including sidewalks, lawns and buildings. Use by NPS or City of Philadelphia emergency or law enforcement personnel is permitted. However, disabled visitors are permitted to use Segways or other EPAMD in the park on sidewalks, paths and on the ground floor (or floors reached by an elevator) of park buildings when such devices are used for the sole purpose of mobility assistance. Visitors who do not have substantial mobility limitations, as defined below, are not allowed to use Segways or EPAMD in the park. Visitors who are unable to navigate staircase, may make use of “accessibility photo albums” developed by the interpretive staff.

The use of EPAMD must adhere to the following:

a) Only visitors with a substantial mobility limitation in accordance with Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and as defined in 43 CFR Part 17, Subpart E are covered.

b) Users of a Segway (or other EPAMD) as a mobility assistance device must display a blue and white disabled plaque. These may be obtained at the NPS desk in the Independence Visitor Center. Visitors requesting the disabled plaque may use their park Access pass to demonstrate need, or sign the “Statement of Disability” form affirming their need for the mobility device.

c) Visitors using a Segway or other EPAMD, without a disabled plaque may be approached by a Law Enforcement Ranger who will verify that the device is being used for mobility assistance by a person who meets the criteria in (a) as well as offering any other special assistance. If the user does not meet the above criteria, he/she will be asked to dismount and exit the park.

d) The visitor must operate the mobility assisted device in a safe and responsible manner; maximum speed is 6 mph (beginner speed). A slower speed of 3 mph is recommended when operating in areas with other visitors or in buildings.

e) Tires must be “commuter” tires or similar, not ATV tires.

f) The park follows Segway’s recommendation that users be at least 16 years old.

g) Visitors riding an EPAMD or Segway on a sidewalk or while crossing a street in a crosswalk have the same rights as pedestrians, except that the EPAMD operator must always yield to pedestrians. Elevator use is the only exception –EPAMD users will enter first, to allow time to park and secure the device and will be the last to exit.

  • Bicycles are prohibited from being ridden on all park sidewalks, benches, stairs, walks and park roads/alleys, and inside park buildings with the exception of emergency response personnel. (a)(b)

  • Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians. (a)

  • Bicycles may be left unattended only in a bicycle rack or Philadelphia Bike Share Station (see 36 CFR §2.22(b) (2) Abandoned Property). (e)

  • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Independence National Historical Park, Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial and Gloria Dei National Historic Site is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent. (a)(b)(e)

    • The term "unmanned aircraft" means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

In response to the potential threat posed by the misuse of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has utilized its authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 99.7—"Special Security Instructions"—to address concerns about unauthorized drone operations over five national cultural monuments and icons including Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center at Independence National Historical Park.

  • The restrictions will be effective October 5, 2017. There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within sites, and they must be coordinated with each individual facility and/or the FAA.
  • Operations who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

These public access determinations are established to ensure the safety and security of park visitors, staff, and resources and are necessary for the proper management of the park

Closed Captioned Television (CCTV) Monitoring Policy
In accordance with National Park Service Law Enforcement Reference Manual 9 (RM-9), notice is hereby given that Independence National Historical Park, the Thaddeus Kosciuszki National Memorial and the Deschler-Morris National Historic Site (Germantown White House) use Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security camera monitoring.

The park's use of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) for law enforcement and security purposes will only be to visually monitor public park areas and public activities where no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy exists. Such CCTV use—which will have adequate privacy and First Amendment safeguards—will be to help ensure public safety and security; facilitate the detection, investigation, preventon, and deterrence of terrorist attack and crime; help ensure the safety of citizens and officers; help assist in the proper allocation and deployment of law enforcement and public safety resources; and help facilitate the protection of the innocent and the apprehension and prosecution of criminals. (RM-9, 26.1)

This policy does not restrict the official use of CCTV in the government administrative areas, including administrative buildigs, jail holding facilities (RM-9, 26.3.7), revenue collection sites, etc., where the government may record/monitor its facilities. For example, the government may perform unrestricted video/audio recording at revenue collection points (entrance stations, visitor center counters, etc). This policy does not restrict the use of an Audio/Visual Recording Device (AVRD) in patrol vehicles or officer-worn recording devices used by commissioned rangers (RM-9, 26.1).

Operation of CCTV cameras, maintenance of recorded images and use of recorded images will be in accordance with NPS and Department policy and applicable laws and regulations (RM-9, 26.1-26.4). No person will be targeted or monitored merely because of race, religion, gender, sex, disability, national origin, or political affilitation or views (RM-9, 26.4.2).

Nothing in this policy statement is intended to create any rights, privileges, or benefits not otherwise recognized by law.

 

II. General Regulations


36 CFR §1.6 – Permits

When authorized by regulations set forth in 36CFR Chapter 1, the Superintendent may issue a permit to authorize an otherwise prohibited or restricted activity. The activity authorized by a permit shall be consistent with applicable legislation, federal regulations and administrative policies, and based upon a determination that public health and safety, environmental or scenic values, natural or cultural resources, scientific research, implementation of management responsibilities, proper allocation and use of facilities, or the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities will not be adversely impacted.

For information on Special Events and Public Assemblies in the park, see sections on 36 CFR §2.50 and §2.51, below.

36 CFR §2.1 – Preservation of Natural, Cultural, and Archeological Resources
§2.1(c)(1) The gathering of fallen fruit from the ginkgo trees throughout the park is permitted. Fruit still on the tree may not be picked. The above described gathering and consumption of fruit will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

§ 2.2 – Wildlife Protection
The following are prohibited:

  1. The taking of wildlife
  2. The feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentional disturbing of wildlife, wildlife nesting, breeding or other activities.
  3. Possessing unlawfully taken wildlife or portions thereof.


§2.4 – Weapons, Traps, and Nets
Visitors may possess firearms within a national park unit provided they comply with federal, state, and local laws. The role of the responsible gun owner is to know and obey the federal, state, and local laws appropriate to the park they are visiting. Federal law prohibits firearms in certain park facilities and buildings. These places are marked with signs at public entrances.

§2.4(a)(2)(iii) Employees living in Government housing are permitted to possess weapons (within their residence) without a permit. Such possession must be in accordance with State and local laws.

§2.4(d)(3) The carrying or possessing of a weapon by an employee, agent or cooperating official, outside of their legal jurisdiction, except as provided elsewhere in 36 CFR §2.4, without a National Park Service (NPS) permit is prohibited.

§2.5 – Research and Specimens
Taking plants, wildlife, rocks or minerals except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a specimen collection permit is prohibited.

§2.10 – Camping and Food Storage
§2.10(a) Camping is prohibited in all areas within the park. Camping is defined as the use of park land for living accommodation activities such as sleeping, or making preparations to sleep (including the laying down of bedding or creating any shelter-like structure or covering for the purpose of sleeping) or storing personal belongings or making any fire or using any tent or shelter or other structure or vehicle for sleeping or doing any digging or earth breaking or carrying on cooking activities. The above-listed activities constitute camping when it reasonably appears, in light of all the circumstances that the participants conducting these activities are in fact using the area as a living accommodation regardless of the intent of the participants or the nature of any other activities in which they may also be engaging. This policy is not intended to prohibit eating and other traditional picnicking activities in areas designated for picnicking.

§2.1 – Picnicking
Picnicking is allowed subject to the following restrictions:

  • Only incidental, i.e., in conjunction with a visit to the park buildings, picnicking is allowed.
  • The consumption of "brown bag" lunches by workers from surrounding offices is allowed.
  • The setting up of tables, chairs, etc. in conjunction with picnicking is prohibited, except in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51, which specifically authorizes such use, or as otherwise authorized herein.
  • Consumption of food or beverages or carrying open containers of food or beverages is prohibited within all buildings.


§2.12 – Audio Disturbances
In order to prevent audio amplification systems from interfering with visitor use activities and park neighbors, the park has established an audio disturbance guideline to govern the volume of audio systems used in the park. The following are prohibited:
§2.12 (a)(1)(i) Operating equipment, including an audio device such as a radio, sound system or musical instrument, in a manner that exceeds a noise level of 60 decibels measured on the A-weighted scale at 50 feet

§2.12 (a)(1)(ii) Or, if below that level, audio amplification that interferes with visitor use activities such as interpretive talks, the audio component of park exhibits, or that makes noise which is unreasonably disruptive, considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct, location, time of day and night, purpose for which the area was established, impact on park users, and other factors that would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.

§2.12 (a)(4)Operating a public address system, except in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51.

§2.13 – Fires
§2.13(a)(1) Lighting or maintaining a fire is prohibited; i.e., any type of open fire, other than a match or lighter, including, but not limited to, burning of flags and effigies, campfires, charcoal fires, propane stoves, Coleman stoves, candles, etc., except in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51 which specifically authorizes such activity under the special conditions section of the permit. This restriction applies to all NPS operated interior and exterior areas. Electric or other kitchen stoves that are park owned or are controlled through cooperative agreements are exempted from this prohibition.

§2.13(a)(1) Park residents must comply with the regulations in the park Housing management Plan.

§ 2.14 – Sanitation and Refuse
The following is prohibited: § 2.14 (a) (5) Bathing, or washing food, clothing, dishes, or other property at public water outlets, fixtures, fountains or pools, except at those designated for such purpose.

§2.15 – Pets
§2.15(a)(1) All park buildings are closed to pets, except:

§2.15(a)(1) and (f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to service animals (of any species) which have been trained to assist impaired or handicapped persons, or, to dogs used by authorized federal, state, and local law enforcement officers in performance of their official duties.

§2.15(e) The keeping of pets by residents in park housing is permitted subject to the provisions of the park Housing Management Plan.

§2.15(2) Pets must be restrained on a leash which shall not exceed six feet in length, or otherwise physically confined at all times.

§2.15(a)(3) Leaving a pet unattended and/or tied to an object is prohibited.

§2.15(a)(5) The following pet excrement disposal conditions are established:

Any person having possession, custody or control of any dog or other animal that defecates in any area of the park shall be required to immediately remove the feces and either:

  • Remove the feces from park property, or
  • Place the feces in a non-leaking container for deposit in a trash or litter receptacle.


§2.17 – Aircraft and Air Delivery
§2.17(a)(1) Operating or using aircraft on lands or waters other than at locations designated pursuant to special regulations is prohibited.

§2.17(a)(3) Delivering or retrieving a person or object by parachute, helicopter, or other airborne means, except in emergencies involving public safety or serious property loss is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit that has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51.

§2.18 – Snowmobiles
§2.18(c) The use of snowmobiles is prohibited.

§2.20 – Skating, Skateboards, and Similar Devices
Using roller skates, in-line skates, skateboards, roller skis, or similar devices on any park property is prohibited, including sidewalks, walkways, steps and any part of any park building.

The use of hoverboards is prohibited in all park areas.

§2.21 – Smoking
§2.21(a) Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is prohibited within the interiors of all park buildings and within 25’ of formal entrance areas as defined as entrance steps or entry foyers of all park buildings. This is not meant to include persons passing by park buildings on public sidewalks. This designation is based on Executive Order 13058, published in the August 13, 1997 Federal Register. It is also designed to protect park resources and reduce the risk of fire.

§2.22 – Property
§2.22(b) (2) Leaving property unattended, for ANY period of time, in or near any park building or resource is prohibited. The laying of wreaths on park property requires a permit. Wreaths will be removed after three days. All property left unattended in violation of these conditions may be considered dangerous or threatening to park resources and may be impounded for inspection. Such an inspection may be destructive.

§2.35 – Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances
§2.35(a)(3)(i) The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all park buildings and on all park grounds, except in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51, which specifically authorizes such consumption, or as otherwise authorized herein. The following park buildings are exempted from this provision as described below:

  • Independence Visitor Center – During events approved through the Independence Visitor Center Corporation.
  • National Constitution Center.
  • City Tavern - Patrons of the City Tavern may purchase and consume alcoholic beverages on City Tavern grounds.
  • Bond House - Guests may consume alcoholic beverages.
  • Independence Mall Café and immediate grounds.

The park is closed to alcohol consumption because such activity is inappropriate considering the other uses of the park and the purpose for which the park was established and is maintained. The park was established and is maintained for the purpose of preserving for the benefit of the American people certain historical structures and properties. The consumption of alcohol is therefore an inappropriate activity that could negatively impact the purposes of the park.

The possession or consumption of any controlled substance is expressly prohibited.

§2.37 – Noncommercial Soliciting
The solicitation or collection of donations is prohibited on park property. Fundraising events may be approved provided that the collection of pledges and donations takes place off-site.

§2.38 – Explosives
§2.38(b) Using or possessing fireworks, firecrackers, or other pyrotechnic displays is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit issued by the Superintendent and in accordance with applicable state and federal law, city ordinances and NPS directives.

The use of black powder for demonstrations, reenactments and other special events is prohibited on park property.

§2.62 – Memorialization
The scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

36 CFR §4. – Vehicles and Traffic Safety
§4.11 Load Weight and Size Limits
All vehicles over 10,000 lbs. are prohibited from driving / parking on flagstone, cobblestone or other paving until surface protection consisting of 2" of foam in between 2 layers of 3/4" plywood, or another approved material (Duradeck) has been laid along the entire route.

 

III. Special Park Uses (36 CFR §2.50 – Special Events; 36 CFR §2.51 – Public Assemblies)

A special park use is defined as an activity that takes place in a park area and that: provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large; requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest; is not prohibited by law or regulation; is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the Service; and is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Each request to engage in a special park use or to renew authorization of an existing use will be reviewed and evaluated by the Superintendent according to the terms of applicable legislation, regulations, guidelines, and management planning documents, using criteria and procedures outlined in the Special Park Uses Guideline (DO/RM-53). An application for a special park use permit will be considered unless:

  • The superintendent has granted or will grant a prior application for a permit for the same time and place, and the activities authorized by that permit do not reasonably allow multiple occupancy of that particular area

  • It reasonably appears that the event will present a clear and present danger to public health or safety

  • The event is of such nature or duration that it cannot reasonably be accommodated in the particular location applied for, considering such things as damage to park resources or facilities, impairment of the area’s atmosphere of peace and tranquility, interference with program activities, or impairment of public use facilities

  • The activity would constitute a violation of an applicable law or regulation.


The National Park Service will also terminate any activity subsequent to finding that any of the above conditions exist.

With the exception of those permits issued for First Amendment activities, to the extent authorized by applicable legislation, regulations, and policies, the National Park Service will establish and collect appropriate permit fees for special park uses and will seek reimbursement from permit holders for NPS costs incurred in administering the permit, monitoring the activities it authorizes, or for any damage caused by those activities.

 

A. 36 CFR §2.50 – Special Events


1. A permit is required to hold a special event
Independence National Historical Park represents a unique national resource associated with the birth and growth of the nation. Special events may be permitted provided there is a meaningful association between the park area and the events, the observance contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area, and a permit has been issued by the Superintendent. A special event may be permitted only if the activity has been judged by the Superintendent not to cause any derogation of the values and purposes for which the park was established, unless directly and specifically authorized by Federal law.

As well as the criteria listed above, initial or renewal requests to conduct an activity will be denied if the Superintendent determines that the activity will be in derogation of the values and purposes for which the Park was established or will be inconsistent with the Park's enabling legislation.

All proposals for special events will be evaluated for:

  • consistency with applicable laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies;

  • consistency with the existing plans for public use and resource management;

  • actual and potential effects on park resources and values;

  • total costs to the Service;

  • whether there is a meaningful association between the park area and the events; and,

  • whether the public interest will be served.


Additionally, when considering requests to hold special events such as parades, meetings, entertainments, exhibitions, fairs, festivals, lectures, conferences, etc. the Superintendent will be guided by CFR 36 Parts 1 and 2, Director’s Order #53 and the Management Policies for the National Park Service issued in August 2006.

The National Park Service will not permit the staging of special events that are conducted primarily for the material or financial benefit of participants, that involve commercialization, advertising, or publicity by participants, or for which a separate public admission fee is to be charged.

Further, the Superintendent will consider the following factors before approving a special event:

  • The effect of the proposed event on resources, operations, and the mission of the park.

  • Park visitation at the time of the proposed event.

  • The location requested.

  • Public safety considerations.

  • The time of year requested.

  • The duration of the proposed event.

  • The size (number of participants and/or observers) of the proposed event and associated equipment.

  • Other, previously approved events.


The primary concern of the Superintendent is the effect of the proposed event on the cultural and natural resources and the impact on normal visitor operations and the visitor experience. It may be possible to accommodate events at certain locations only before or after the public hours of the building. It may also be necessary to limit the size and/or duration of the proposed event to a small number of participants/observers or a shorter length of time in order not to interfere with public use or threaten the historical and natural resources of the park.

For special events that will result in significant restrictions or closures of areas normally open to the public, the Regional Director’s written concurrence must be obtained before issuing the permit. (Policy Memorandum 16-02)

Past approval of similar special events by a park will not have a bearing on the approval process. Each request received must be evaluated individually for impacts to park resources and values and compliance with current statutes, regulations and policies. (Policy Memorandum 16-02)

Sponsored Events
The Superintendent may designate certain events as park sponsored when Independence National Historical Park staff work closely with an event organizer or a park partner(s) or another government agency to create and participate in a public event and when that event has a meaningful connection to the park’s historic resources or provides an opportunity for appropriate public use, enjoyment and recreation consistent with the protection of park resources and the mission of the NPS.

Donor Recognition at Sponsored Events (DO#21, 8.9.1)
The NPS may temporarily recognize event sponsors as long as corporate names are not used in a way that would imply or suggest NPS endorsement of a product, service or company, or be construed as commercial solicitation or advertising. Corporate sponsors may be recognized at special events by the limited use of corporate logos and name script on event facilities, signs and in literature. The size, scale, scope and location of corporate logos and name script should not dominate the event facilities or area.

The Superintendent has established the following criteria to insure the protection and preservation of the historic and natural resources of the park and to protect the rights of the visitor to enjoy their visit to the park with minimum impact from special events or activities:

  • Most daytime special events will be limited to outdoors. Those events which are permitted inside a public use building during public hours will be limited in duration and must not unduly interfere with visitor use.

  • Scheduled meetings or events will be open to the public insofar as it is practical / consistent with the event.
  • Displays and exhibits must be attended at all times. “Attended” is defined as an agent of the permit holder being in arm’s length to the display or exhibit.
  • The permit holder will be responsible for reimbursing the National Park Service for all expenses incurred by the park in the course of the special event. These expenses include, but are not limited to the cost of utilities and the cost of park personnel involved with the permit. In addition fees may be charged for the use of a facility based on current NPS management policy.
  • The permit holder may be required to provide proof of insurance, naming the United States of America as an additional insured, or to secure a performance bond based on the nature of the event, the complexity of the event, the potential risk to life or property and the need to insure compliance with the terms and conditions of a permit.
  • The permit holder is responsible for complying with all applicable codes and regulations as it relates to the erection or installation of temporary structures.
  • The permit holder is responsible for complying with OSHA regulations as it pertains to the use of portable generators. This includes provisions for carbon monoxide poisoning, GFCI, refueling procedures, grounding, noise and vibration hazards.
  • The permit holder is responsible for having on-hand a fully stocked spill kit when using equipment containing petroleum, oil or other lubricant. The use of secondary containment will be evaluated for each proposed piece of equipment.
  • Permit applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis determined by the date a signed application is received in the special events office, except for the provision stated below. A permit application may be denied if a permit has been previously issued to another group for the same time and/or place, or the application fails to meet any of the above criteria.
  • Since certain resources within the park are owned by the City of Philadelphia, the City shall be given special consideration in the use of those lands for special events.
  • The collection of an admission fee to participate in a permitted special event at Independence National Historical Park is strictly prohibited.


Surveying of park visitors requires a permit approved by the park Superintendent. Surveyors may not survey visitors inside of park buildings or in any of the areas closed to public assemblies. The park staff should review a draft of the survey instrument and sampling plan.

  • Researchers are required to provide copies of the survey instrument and accompanying materials along with the permit application. The survey form should clearly state that the NPS is not sponsoring the information collection.
  • Researchers should make it clear to potential respondents that participation in the survey is completely voluntary and that responses will be kept confidential.

Personal contact information and data from respondents should be used for no other purpose than the specific research project covered by the research permit.

 

2. Individual building/site criteria
Additional criteria have been developed for individual buildings and sites within the park that invoke special concerns due to fragile historic or natural resources, or the increased probability of disruption to normal visitor activities, due to high visitation. These criteria are listed under specific buildings and sites below.

Note: Where a maximum number of people is specified the number is generally based upon the occupancy limit as calculated using the Life Safety Code, but in some cases where the number of people allowed using the Life Safety Code was felt to be too high to provide for the adequate protection of the resource a lower number was specified based on the professional judgment of the park staff. These numbers apply to special events and are absolute totals and include participants, caterers, park staff, etc. and may not be exceeded.

Independence Hall – First Floor
Because of the potential to cause damage to the resource and unreasonably interfere with interpretation, visitor services, or other program activities, only special events for which the NPS or DOI is a sponsor will be considered for approval.

Independence Hall – Second Floor (Long Gallery)
The primary purpose of the second floor of Independence Hall is to provide visitors with the opportunity to view and experience this restored and refurnished area of the building. This purpose will take precedence over all other activities. Because of the potential to cause damage to the resource and unreasonably interfere with interpretation, visitor services, or other program activities, special events are not, except as noted below, permitted to take place on the second floor of Independence Hall. The Superintendent may consider other activities as long as they do not interfere with the primary purpose and do not endanger the historic structure and its fragile, irreplaceable furnishings. Activities and functions that might be considered must conform to the following criteria:

  • The event is sponsored by the NPS or DOI, or

  • The activity is recognized by the Secretary of the Interior (including those given by the President and Vice President of the United States and ceremonies honoring foreign dignitaries of the rank of Ambassador or above), or

  • The annual meeting of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

  • No food or drink will be served.

  • Attendance will be limited to 85 people.


Independence Hall Tower or Ringing the Centennial Bell
Requests for access to the above space or permission to ring the Centennial Bell shall meet the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • Permission to ring the Centennial Bell is limited to Independence Hall Bell Ringers or qualified NPS staff.

  • Events for which the Centennial Bell is rung must be directly associated with the interpretive focus of the park and/or requested through a federal proclamation.


The following restrictions apply to the use of the tower or ringing the Centennial Bell:

  • Access to the tower requires direct permission from the Superintendent

  • A maximum number of ten (10) people are allowed in the tower at any one time, including National Park Service personnel.

  • No one under the age of 13 is permitted in the tower.

  • No one with a condition that would impede exiting in an emergency situation is allowed.

  • Individuals given permission to enter the tower above Level 5 may be required to sign a liability waiver.


Independence Square
Historically, this area always included walks and greens for public enjoyment. The area now known as Independence Square was last redesigned in 1915 and is designated an historic landscape. The Square is elevated above the level of city streets and thus retains its unique colonial character. As such, the area is reserved as contemplative and quiet space. The Square also contains a secure zone for the screening and queuing of visitors and thus, for security reasons, the area around the secure zone must remain free of large public gatherings. Special events in this area are minimized to preserve the atmosphere of peace and tranquility and to avoid unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities. Requests for activities and special events to be held in the above space shall meet one or more of the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • The National Park Service sponsors or co-sponsors the event,

  • The event is sponsored by a government agency and has a direct association with the events that occurred on the Square,

  • The event involves the appearance of the President or Vice President of the United States in an official capacity,

  • The event celebrates Independence Day either in compliance with a congressional resolution or by sponsorship by a government agency,

  • The event has a continuous history of taking place on the Square predating the creation of the park. These events include but are not limited to:

    • George Washington Birthday wreath laying ceremony sponsored by the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America.

    • George Washington birthday ceremony sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution.

    • The Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony sponsored by the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War (Grand Army of the Republic).

    • The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick who have held ceremonies at the Barry Statue.

    • United States Marine Corp flag raising ceremony conducted on November 10 to commemorate the birthday of the USMC.

    • Wedding photography is prohibited on Independence Square at all times.

    • Media coverage of breaking news will be permitted on Independence Square subject to the following guidelines:

      • All media personnel and equipment must screen through regular, public, security screening procedures prior to entering the secure zone.

      • All media present on Independence Square are subject to positioning guidelines as directed by park staff or accompanying United States Secret Service, US Department of State diplomatic protection, etc.

  • Changing or supplementing the lighting on Independence Hall or any of the historic buildings on Independence Square for commercial filming or non-park sponsored special events is prohibited.


West Wing Independence Hall (1st Floor Great Essentials Exhibit)
In order to minimize the potential for injury or damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, special events are not permitted to take place in the Great Essentials Exhibit area.

West Wing Independence Hall (VIP Room)
In order to minimize the potential for damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, use of this space shall be restricted to the following:

  • Guests of the park superintendent.

  • As a gathering place for participants involved in the City of Philadelphia’s Independence Day ceremony.

  • The annual meeting of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (traditional).

  • Events involving food and/or drink will be considered. Any cooking must be confined to the kitchen area. No open flame, including sterno, will be permitted.

  • All permitted activities will be limited to a maximum of 25 people.


Congress Hall (House of Representatives Chamber)
In order to minimize the potential for damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, requests for activities and special events to be held in the above space shall meet the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • The National Park Service sponsors the event or the event is sponsored by a government agency, or for high-level symposia consistent with the mission of the park.

  • No food or drink will be served.

  • The event must be directly associated with the interpretive focus of the building, and must further the mission of the park.

  • Attendance will be limited to 150 people.


Congress Hall (Senate Chamber)
In order to minimize the potential for injury or damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, special events are not permitted in the Senate Chamber.

Old City Hall
In order to minimize the potential for damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, requests for activities and special events to be held in the above space shall meet the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • Events sponsored by the park or by other government agencies.

  • No food or drink will be served.

  • The event must be directly associated with the interpretive focus of the building, and must further the mission of the park

  • Attendance will be limited to 70 people.


First Bank of the United States
In order to prevent injury or damage to the resource and avoid unreasonable interference with the administrative activities of the National Park Service, special events are limited to those in which the National Park Service sponsors or co-sponsors the event.

Second Bank of the United States
In order to minimize the potential for injury or damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, special events are limited to those in which the National Park Service sponsors or co-sponsors the event.

Park Headquarters (MEB Conference Rooms)
In order to avoid unreasonable interference with the administrative activities of the National Park Service, and to prevent damage to park resources, special events are not permitted in the above space

Liberty Bell Center (Interior)
The Liberty Bell is one of this country's most popular and treasured symbols. For this reason it is important that the Liberty Bell remain available for public viewing, unencumbered by special events. In order to minimize the potential for damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, events must meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered to be conducted in the Liberty Bell Center:

  • Military reenlistment, promotion, retirement, change of command and commissioning ceremonies, which may only take place before or after opening hours.

  • Events sponsored by the NPS.

  • Wreath layings by foreign heads of state.

  • Events sponsored by State or local tourism agencies.

  • The following commemorative ceremonies that have traditionally taken place in the Center for a number of years:

    • Independence Day National Bell Tapping (Let Freedom Ring) ceremony sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution.

    • Martin Luther King Day ceremony sponsored by the Philadelphia Martin Luther King Association for Nonviolence.

    • Annual Freedom Day Ceremony sponsored by the National Freedom Day Association.

The Liberty Bell Chamber is restricted to 125 persons.

President's House Site
In order to minimize the potential for injury or damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, including audio/video programs, special events are not permitted in the President’s House Site or on the adjacent sidewalks, except for events sponsored by the park or by organizations involved in the design and creation of the exhibits, predating the construction of the exhibits, including the Avenging the Ancestor’s Coalition.

Declaration House
Special events at this site are limited to those which meet the following criteria:

  • The event is sponsored by the NPS or

  • The event has a direct connection with the purpose for which the site was created.


First Block of Independence Mall (bounded north by Market St., east by 5th St., and south by Chestnut St. and west by 6th St.)
The First Block area is divided into sections in accordance with proximity to the major program areas of the Park to avoid interference with operations, programming, and pedestrian traffic. In the area east of the Liberty Bell Center and west of the 5th Street sidewalk:

  • North of the Ranstead Street divider – permits will be issued, in accordance with the criteria in this compendium, for one or more groups, up to a total of 1500 people.

  • South of the Ranstead Street divider permits will be issued only for NPS sponsored events.


The carrying capacities cited above are subject to change and may be increased or decreased depending upon conditions affecting use of the sites including, but not limited to, staging and equipment on the site, the volume of park visitors, weather conditions, and security and safety concerns.

The landscaping design plan for Blocks 1 and 2 of Independence Mall was principled around the intent of maintaining an unobstructed view shed between the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall. In support of this plan a height restriction of 15’ is imposed on all temporary structures and displays on the Mall. The superintendent may grant exceptions to temporary structures or displays that are situated outside the view shed.

Second Block of Independence Mall (bounded north by Arch St., east by 5th St., south by Market St., and west by 6th St.)
The landscaping design plan for Blocks 1 and 2 of Independence Mall was principled around the intent of maintaining an unobstructed view shed between the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall. In support of this plan a height restriction of 15’ is imposed on all temporary structures and displays on the Mall. The superintendent may grant exceptions to temporary structures or displays that are situated outside the view shed.

In order to minimize the potential for damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, requests for activities and special events to be held in the above space shall meet the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • The activity is directly associated with the interpretive focus of the park, or

  • The event furthers the mission of the park, or

  • The event is sponsored by the NPS, a park partner, organizations with cooperative agreements with the NPS, educational institutions, official State or City tourism agencies or other government entities (i.e. City, State or Federal), and

  • The event provides an opportunity for appropriate public use, enjoyment and recreation consistent with the protection of park resources and the mission of the NPS.

The event will not exceed the Block’s carrying capacity of 10,000 people. The carrying capacity is subject to change depending upon conditions affecting use of the site including, but not limited to, staging and equipment on the site, the volume of park visitors, weather conditions, and security and safety concerns.

Independence Visitor Center
Special events within the building are regulated by the Independence Visitor Center Corporation in coordination with Independence National Historical Park.

Free Quaker Meeting House
In order to minimize the potential for damage, special events and activities will be limited to the following:

  • Events sponsored by the NPS.

  • Events sponsored by Historic Philadelphia Inc. (Once Upon a Nation).

  • The annual meeting of the Society of Free Quakers.


Third Block of Independence Mall (bounded north by Race St., east by 5th St., south by Arch St., and west by 6th St.)
Special events within the building will be regulated by the National Constitution Center. In order to avoid unreasonable interference with visitor services and enjoyment and to prevent damage to the grass area on the South entrance to the National Constitution Center, special events in this area will be limited to those which are sponsored or co-sponsored by the NCC, the City of Philadelphia or the NPS or which further the mission of the NCC and the NPS.

The landscaping design plan for Independence Mall was principled around the intent of maintaining an unobstructed view shed between the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall. In support of this plan a height restriction of 30’ is imposed on all temporary structures and displays on the third block (NCC block). Any structure over 25’ will require concurrence from the NCC, approval for such structures will be infrequent and such structures should be installed for the minimal amount of time necessary for the event.

Benjamin Franklin Museum
In order to minimize the potential for damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, requests for activities and special events to be held in the above space shall meet the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • The event must be directly associated with the interpretive focus of the building, and must further the mission of the park.

  • Attendance will be limited to 150 people

  • No food or drink will be allowed below the courtyard level.

  • To ensure compliance with emergency evacuation procedures, all permitted activity in the museum must be staffed by two NPS staff or specifically trained volunteers.


Franklin Courtyard
In order to avoid unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services and other program activities, and because the uneven walking services in Franklin Court constitute a danger to public health and safety, requests for special events to be held in the above space shall meet the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • The event must be directly associated with the interpretive focus of the site, and further the mission of the park.

  • Events sponsored by the NPS, organizations with cooperative agreements with the NPS, or other government entities (i.e. City, State or Federal).

  • Permit holder must provide exterior lighting as necessary

  • Attendance will be limited to 230 people.


Market Street Houses
In order to prevent injury or damage to the resource and avoid unreasonable interference with visitor services, special events are not permitted to take place in the Market St. houses.

Independence Park Institute
Special events are limited to those sponsored by the NPS or another park partner.

Second Bank Block
The Second Bank of the United States is a National Historic Landmark and an architecturally significant building in the historic core of the park, which also includes Library Hall of the American Philosophical Society. Special events will be limited to those that will not have the potential to cause damage to park resources.

First Bank Block
This area of the historic core of the park includes Carpenters’ Hall, the First Bank of the United States, the Bishop White House and several other historic structures. Special events will be limited to those that do not have the potential to cause damage to park resources or operations.

Dock Street
The views from Dock Street present a carefully recreated historic scene that incorporates two national historic landmarks, the Merchants' Exchange and the First Bank of the United States. All care should be taken to maintain this view free from modern intrusions for the enjoyment of our visitors and the community. Special events in this area of the park are restricted to those sponsored by the NPS. During certain situations, such as weather events, vehicles may park on Dock Street provided a parking permit has been issued.

Washington Square
Washington Square served as a burial ground for nearly all of the 18th century. In the early part of the century it was used as a potter's field, during the American Revolution it served as a cemetery for troops of Washington's Army, later it would serve as a burial ground for victims of the yellow fever epidemics. Washington Square also served as a gathering place and burial ground for free and enslaved Africans in the late eighteenth century. Today, a Memorial to the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier honoring all the troops who fought under George Washington is situated in the northwest quadrant of Washington Square. In order to maintain a sense of reverence for those interred on the site and to minimize the potential for damage to the resource and to preclude unreasonable interference with interpretation, visitor services or other program activities, requests for activities and special events to be held in the above space shall meet the following criteria to receive consideration:

  • The event has a long history of taking place in the Square, or

  • The event commemorates the events that took place on the Square; or

  • The event is sponsored or co-sponsored by the NPS, organizations with cooperative agreements with NPS, or another government entity (i.e. City, State or Federal) and furthers the mission of the park.

  • The event is sponsored by a traditionally associated group.

No events other than those with a commemorative association with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will be permitted to take place in the paved area surrounding the fountain or in the proximity of the Memorial.

The park may issue an appropriate number of Commercial Use Authorizations to operate within Washington Square for the following activities:

  1. Yoga exercise sessions
  2. Walking and strolling exercises
  3. Tai Chi
  4. Karate
  5. General in place exercise sessions


The following limitations will apply:

  • Activities which involve the throwing, hitting or kicking of baseballs, soccer balls, footballs, golf balls or other similar sports is not authorized.

  • Services provided under CUAs will be limited to groups of no more than 30 people per session.

  • Authorized use of Washington Square will be limited to two groups at a time, only during designated hours; during peak visitation hours, no commercial activity will be permitted.


Welcome Park
In order to minimize the potential for damage to the resource activities and special events in the above space shall be limited to no more than 800 people.

  • A public address system may be used (no NPS-provided power is available) providing the sound does not disrupt interpretive programs or adjacent residences or businesses.

  • The sidewalk will not be blocked.
  • Signage, banners, displays, etc., may not be attached to or contact park monuments, walls, facilities or trees.
  • Vehicles are prohibited in Welcome Park


Magnolia Garden and Rose Garden
In order not to impair unreasonably the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in these garden areas of the park, special events are limited to those meeting the following criteria:

  • The activity is directly associated with the interpretive focus of the park, furthers the mission of the park or is an activity in which Independence National Historical Park is a participant, or

  • The event is sponsored by the NPS, organizations with cooperative agreements with the NPS or other government entities (i.e. City, State or Federal) or by the Garden Club of America (traditionally associated with the garden).


Wedding ceremonies will be considered for the Magnolia and Rose Gardens as long as the ceremony is no longer than two (2) hours in duration, requires only minimal set-up (maximum of 20 chairs, no public address system, no tents) and involves no more than 35 people. Music may be approved with the condition that it will not be audible in neighboring residences or buildings.

Benjamin Rush (Bishop White) Garden and 18th Century Garden
In order not to unreasonably impair the atmosphere of peace and tranquility maintained in these garden areas of the park, special events and public assemblies are not permitted. Wedding photography is permitted with a permit.

Christ Church Park (Second and Market Streets)
This property was acquired by the National Park Service in order to protect Christ Church from fire and to forestall development of the site, and thus maintain a view of the Church from along Market Street. In order to minimize the potential for injury or damage to the resource, preserve an atmosphere of peace and tranquility and maintain the view shed, special events on this site are limited to those which meet one of the following criteria:

  • The event is sponsored by Christ Church

  • The event commemorates a milestone anniversary of an event significant in the history of the Church.


Deshler-Morris National Historic Site (Germantown White House)
Special events at this site are limited to those which meet the following criteria:

  • The event is sponsored by the NPS or

  • The event has a direct connection with the purpose for which the site was created.


Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site (532 North 7th Street)
Although the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site as a unit of the National Park Service was created independently and has its own enabling legislation, it falls under the administrative jurisdiction of Independence National Historical Park. Special events at the site are limited to those which meet the following criteria:

  • The event is sponsored by the NPS or a park partner.

  • The event has a direct connection with the purpose for which the site was created.


Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
Although the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial as a unit of the National Park Service was created independently and has its own enabling legislation, it falls under the administrative jurisdiction of Independence National Historical Park. Special events at the site are limited to those which meet the following criteria:

  • The event is sponsored or co-sponsored by the NPS or
  • The event has a direct connection with the purpose for which the site was created.
 

B. 36 CFR §2.51 – Public Assemblies

Independence National Historical Park will accommodate the use of park land for activities protected under the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. Activities include demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct which involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers. Excluded from this definition is the casual park use by visitors or tourists which is not reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers such as the wearing of baseball caps, T-shirts, or other articles of clothing that convey a message. To ensure public safety and the protection of park resources and values, and to avoid assigning the same location and time to two or more activities, for groups larger than 25 persons, the park will issue permits that specify/organize the time, location, number of participants, use of the facilities, and number and type of equipment used, but not the content of the message presented. Permit applications are available at the Merchants Exchange Building, on the park’s website (www.nps.gov/inde) or by calling 215-597-0060. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible, but not earlier than 1 year in advance.

The Superintendent shall, within ten days, issue a permit upon proper application. No public assembly permit shall be issued for a period in excess of 14 consecutive days, provided that permits may be extended for like periods upon a new application, unless another applicant has requested use of the same location and multiple occupancy at that location is not reasonably possible. The use of message bearing signs may be used in conjunction with public assemblies, vigils, rallies, demonstrations, religious activities and other forms of public expression provided that a Special Use Permit has been issued and approved by the park Superintendent. All such signs are to be attended at all times. “Attended” is defined as an individual being on-site within arm’s length of his or her sign. Signs are not permitted in public buildings. Amplified sound systems may be used in conjunction with public assemblies to the extent that they comply with the provisions of §2.12(a)(1)(ii).

Demonstrations involving 25 persons or fewer may be held without a permit provided that the other conditions required for the issuance of a permit are met and provided further that the group is not merely an extension of another group already availing itself of the 25-person maximum under this provision or will not unreasonably interfere with other demonstrations or special events. Individuals and small groups who take advantage of the permit exception may make use of hand-carried signs, but not stages, platforms, amplified sound or structures. While it is not mandatory, the organizer is requested to provide reasonable notice of the proposed event to the park superintendent, including whether there is any reason to believe that there may be an attempt to disrupt, protest, or prevent the activity.

Those groups or individuals using park land for activities protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution are subject to all applicable local, state and federal laws.

Due to its high profile location and the First Amendment monument, People’s Plaza is the main area designated for public assembly by the park for those groups or individuals taking advantage of the under 25 person permit exception. However, the following park areas are also designated as areas for public assemblies:

  • FIRST BLOCK OF INDEPENDENCE MALL: bounded north by Market St., east by 5th St., and south by Chestnut St. and west by 6th St.
  • SECOND BLOCK OF INDEPENDENCE MALL: Bounded north by Arch St., east by 5th St., south by Market St., and west by 6th St.
  • THIRD BLOCK OF INDEPENDENCE MALL: Demonstrations are permitted on the raised terrace area north of Arch St. and west of the sidewalk leading into the building entrance off of 6th St.
  • SECOND BANK BLOCK: Bounded north by the Second Bank building, west by 5th St., east by 4th St. and south by Walnut St.
  • WELCOME PARK
  • WASHINGTON SQUARE: Perimeter sidewalks and all non-paved interior areas of the park.


The following sidewalks:

  • East side of 6th St. from Race St. south to the north side of Chestnut St.
  • West side of 5th St. from Race St. south to the north side of Chestnut St.
  • East side of 5th St. from Chestnut St. south to Walnut St.
  • North side of Chestnut St. from 6th St. east to 5th St.
  • North and south sides of Market St. from 6th St. east to 5th St.
  • North and south sides of Arch St. from 6th St. east to 5th St.


The following limitations apply to Block 1, South of Ranstead Street:

  • South of the Ranstead Street divider to the diagonal walk running across the mall between the restrooms and the Liberty Bell building sidewalk – permits will be issued, in accordance with the criteria in this compendium, for one or more groups, up to a total of 10 people. As this area is close to operations in the Liberty Bell Chamber and Independence Hall and to the line entering the Liberty Bell Center, no amplification will be permitted here.

  • South of the diagonal walk running across the mall between the restrooms and the Liberty Bell building sidewalk to the bollards north of the Chestnut Street sidewalk – permits will be issued, in accordance with the criteria in this compendium, for one or more groups, up to a total of 5 people. As this area is close to operations in the Liberty Bell Chamber and Independence Hall and to the line entering the Liberty Bell building, no amplification will be permitted here.

  • South of the bollards to the Chestnut Street curb. This area is heavily trafficked by tours and pedestrians, is used as a photography site for the George Washington statue and Independence Hall, has historical information engraved in the sidewalk, and contains a viewshed between the Liberty Bell chamber and Independence Hall. This sidewalk is also hemmed in by security bollards, is used by crowds exiting the Liberty Bell building, and has corners in constant pedestrian use which must remain clear for safe street crossing. No obstruction of the Chestnut Street sidewalk is permitted. In this area, permits will be issued, in accordance with the criteria in this compendium, up to a total of 3 people. Signs may be carried but must be no bigger than three feet by two feet and must be kept in motion by persons transiting through the park. No stationary signs or demonstrations are permitted. As this area is close to operations in the Liberty Bell Chamber and Independence Hall building, no amplification will be permitted here. No one may stand closer than 12 feet to any corner pedestrian crossing.


Crosswalks, Building Entrances and Exits, Building Interiors and Exhibits, and Secure Area of Independence Square:
Assembling or leafleting within 20 feet of a building entrance or exit is prohibited. Visitors must be allowed unimpeded entry and exit of buildings for safety reasons. Assembling or leafleting within 12 feet of a crosswalk is prohibited. Blocking crosswalks impedes the flow of pedestrian traffic and creates safety concerns.

Assembling or leafleting in park buildings, exhibit areas, including the President’s House Site, and within the secure area of Independence Square is prohibited.

 

C. Policy for Private Events in Independence National Historical Park

Independence National Historical Park is located in a dense urban setting in the Old City District of Philadelphia. Open space in the park is at a premium, and the park must manage use of the space equitably among the competing needs of the nearly 4 million visitors and over 100,000 people who utilize the park for special events, filming and photography, and for public assemblies. For this reason, private invitation-only events staged on public space in the park are prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Superintendent. There are adequate facilities within the boundaries of the park including the National Constitution Center, the Independence Visitor Center, Carpenters’ Hall and City Tavern to accommodate those seeking park venues for private events.

D. Special Attention Request Policy (SARs)

Certain individuals or groups will receive private tours of Independence National Historical Park. These park-arranged tours are offered in specific situations and must be organized through the Public Affairs Office. These tours may be offered in situations including those in which an individual’s or group’s presence in a public area could cause disruption to normal visitor or interpretive activities; for visits of high-ranking U.S. government officials and foreign dignitaries (such as heads of state and ambassadors); and for individuals or groups requiring special security arrangements by federal law enforcement agencies.

The following categories of visitors will not be considered for private tours: school groups, corporate and business groups; clubs, associations, organizations, youth groups, scouts, conventioneers; friends, family members, corporate or business associates of those who qualify under the above categories.

Specific policies regarding when such tours are permitted are available from the Public Affairs Office.

At the discretion of the Park Superintendent, media coverage of SARs may be allowed inside park buildings subject to positioning guidelines and monitoring by park staff. All media personnel and equipment must screen through regular screening procedures. To preserve the visitor experience during VIP visits with media coverage:

  • The size, amount and type of equipment permitted inside park buildings will be determined on a case by case basis depending upon the type of event, availability of monitoring park staff and building visitation.
  • Using the resource as a backdrop for a press conference is expressly prohibited.
 

IV. 36 CFR §2.52 – Sale and Distribution of Printed Matter

A. Sale of Printed Materials

The sale of printed matter in connection with a public assembly is allowed, subject to a permit for groups over 25 people, and subject to the regulations listed above regarding public assemblies. Printed matter is defined as books, newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets, whose primary purpose is the advocacy, definition, or explanation of a group’s or individual’s political, religious, scientific or moral beliefs. Message-bearing merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, patches, hats, flags, CDs, DVDs, photographs, mugs and decals may not be sold. The sale of printed materials involving 25 persons or fewer may be engaged in without a permit provided that the other conditions required for the issuance of a permit are met and providing the activity will not unreasonably interfere with other demonstrations or special events.

B. Distribution of Printed Material

Distribution of message-bearing items, including printed matter, is allowed pursuant to the regulations listed above regarding public assemblies, provided that, for groups over 25, a permit to do so has been issued by the Superintendent and provided further that the printed material is not solely commercial advertising. Printed material is defined as message-bearing, printed material such as books, pamphlets, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and other readable electronic media, and leaflets whose primary purpose is the advocacy, definition, or explanation of a group’s or individual’s political, religious, scientific, or moral beliefs. The distribution of printed materials involving 25 persons or fewer may be engaged in without a permit provided that the other conditions required for the issuance of a permit are met and providing the activity will not unreasonably interfere with other demonstrations or special events.

 

V. 36 CFR §5.1 – Commercial Notices or Advertisements

Commercial notices or advertisements shall not be displayed, posted, or distributed on federally owned or controlled lands within a park area unless prior written permission has been given by the Superintendent. Such permission may be granted only if the notice or advertisement is of goods, services, or facilities available within the park area and such notices and advertisements are found by the Superintendent to be desirable and necessary for the convenience and guidance of the public. The distribution or give-away of commercial products is not permitted unless it is something that is not intended to be distributed for promotional purposes, and is deemed by the Superintendent to be desirable for the convenience of the public. Further, special event permits will expressly prohibit the erection, placement, or use of structures and signs bearing commercial advertising. However, a permit may be issued that authorizes the recognition of sponsors of special events, if the NPS determines that the size and form of the recognition will not derogate the values and purposes for which the park was established, providing that the lettering or design identifying the sponsor is no larger than one-third the size of the lettering or design identifying the special event.

 

VI. 36 CFR §5.3 – Business Operations

Engaging in or soliciting any business is prohibited except as permitted by a Commercial Use Authorization or written agreement with the NPS. Commercial activity includes paid exercise or other classes. Soliciting personal information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, zip codes, etc., or any other such information which may be used for future solicitation or marketing purposes, is strictly prohibited. Commercial tour operators are prohibited from providing interpretive services to visitors inside the park’s buildings.

 

VII. Filming and Photography

A. 36 CFR §5.5(a) – Motion Pictures and and Television

Under P.L. 106-206 all commercial filming requires a permit and is subject to a location fee and cost recovery. Commercial filming is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project; it does not include news coverage or visitor use. All commercial filming, including filming exterior locations within the park and filming within park buildings, requires a written permit.

Filming and photography – whether commercial or noncommercial – will be allowed within the park provided that the activity is consistent with the park’s purpose and does not:

  • pose a potential threat to park resources
  • create an unsafe or unhealthful environment for visitors or employees
  • unreasonably interfere with park program or activities
  • unreasonably interfere with the atmosphere of peace and tranquility
  • interfere with NPS concessioner or contractor operations or services


Permission to film or videotape within park buildings may only be granted by the Superintendent when:

  • The activity has a meaningful and accurate association with the historic resource or
  • The production would contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of the historic resource.


Additionally, permission to film or videotape in the Liberty Bell Center may be considered when the activity is endorsed by local tourism agencies and promotes tourism to the City of Philadelphia.

Commercial filming in all buildings within the Park must take place during those times the buildings are closed to public visitation.

For visitor safety and to protect the exhibited collections, the use of tripods and other ancillary photographic devices, including selfie-sticks, is prohibited in the Second Bank of the United States, the area immediately around the stanchions that protect the Liberty Bell, and the Todd and Bishop White Houses, without a special use permit.

The collection of an admission fee to participate in permitted commercial filming and still photography activities within the buildings of the Park is strictly prohibited.

The same considerations as those which apply to building interiors will be applied by the Superintendent in granting permission for motion picture or television productions on Independence Square. The Superintendent may choose not to apply the criteria of a meaningful association with the historic resource or that it would contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of the historic resource to video production in other exterior areas of the park. Unless co-sponsored by the NPS, video production on Washington Square is limited to productions involving no more than 15 cast and crew on site at any one time.

The same criteria which apply for commercial filming activities in the buildings of Independence National Historical Park will be applied at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site and the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial.

Although requests for on camera interviews with park staff remain under the discretion of the Superintendent, the NPS will not allow or issue permits where NPS staff participate in what is commonly labeled “reality TV”. (Policy Memorandum 15-02)

B. 43 CFR §5.4 – News-Gathering Activities

News gathering activities involving filming, videography or still photography do not require a permit unless:

  1. It is determined a permit is necessary to protect natural and cultural resources, to avoid visitor use conflicts, to ensure public safety or authorize entrance into a closed area.
  2. Obtaining a permit must not interfere with the ability to gather the news.
  3. A permit issued for news-gathering activities is not subject to location fees or cost recovery.

C. 36 CFR §5.5(b) – Still Photography

The decision to require a permit for still photography activities in a park is based on the activity itself as opposed to the eventual use of the image. Generally, permits are not required for still photography activities unless:

  • The activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
  • The activity uses model(s), sets(s), or prop(s) that are not a part of the location’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
  • The park would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity; or
  • The park needs to provide management and oversight of the activity.


If none of these conditions exist a permit is not required. If one of the above conditions does exist, the same considerations which apply to building interiors for commercial filming will apply for still photography. Still photography permits are subject to cost recovery and location fees.

Wedding photos taken by either commercial or noncommercial photographers require a permit. Wedding photos are permitted only in certain specifically identified areas of the park, but not in park buildings. Wedding photography is prohibited on Independence Square and Independence Mall with the exception of permits issued to the Independence Visitor Center Corporation for Block 2 areas only.

D. 36 CFR §5.5(b) – Audio Recording

Audio recording does not require a permit unless:

  • It takes place at a location where or when members of the public are generally not allowed;
  • It uses equipment that requires mechanical transport;
  • It uses equipment that requires an external power source other than a battery pack; or
  • The NPS would incur additional administrative costs to manage and oversee the permitted activity to:
    • Avoid unacceptable impacts and impairment to resources or values; or
    • Minimize health or safety risks to the visiting public.

If a permit is issued, cost recovery must be collected, and a location fee based on the location fee schedule for still photography must be collected.

Last updated: February 1, 2018

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