Release Date: September 6, 2012
Contact: Jane Cowley, e-mail us, 215-597-0060
Philadelphia - This year marks the 225th anniversary of the United States Constitution, and Independence National Historical Park is celebrating! Activities are planned throughout the weekend and on Constitution Day, September 17, for the whole family, from a ranger-led tour introducing the delegates to the Constitutional Convention through their portraits to a new Junior Ranger program to get the kids searching for answers just like the delegates did. September 17 marks the culmination of the park's summer-long program of posting each day's events from the Constitutional Convention on the park's website. James Madison would be amazed to see his notes from the convention shared in this fashion!
Although Americans don't break out the fireworks on September 17th each year, maybe we should. Seven states first formed a quorum on May 25, 1787, in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) and set about the task of forming a new framework of government. This document not only established a new nation but changed the face of the world. Benjamin Franklin probably put it best when he responded to a woman on the streets of Philadelphia who asked him whether the convention had produced a republic or a monarchy. His simple response, you have "a Republic, if you can keep it." The delegates of the Constitutional Convention formally signed the document on September 17, 1787 and sent the document to the states for ratification. The Constitution was formally ratified on June 21, 1788 and George Washington took the oath of office on April 30, 1789.
In 1987, the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, was celebrated throughout the country and especially here in Philadelphia. Park historians at the time produced a daybook of events and discussions that took place each day during the convention in 1787. A condensed version of these notes, along with enlightening graphics, is available on the park's website at http://home.nps.gov/inde/historyculture/stories.htm. Follow along on Twitter with #Constitution225.
On September 15 and 16, at noon each day, join a ranger-led tour of the Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank of the United States. The program focuses on prominent delegates to the convention, their opinions of where we were headed and significant contributions they offered during the debates and the drafting of the constitution.
The Constitutional Convention Scavenger Hunt is perfect for children 8 to 15 years old. Much like the delegates to the convention who searched for answers to produce a functional framework of government, kids will search for answers throughout the park using their own map and worksheet to learn about prominent figures and events that took place in park buildings. Kids who participate and have the right answers to the questions will receive an Independence NHP pedometer or junior ranger patch while supplies last. Pick up a copy of the junior ranger program in the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets.
The Constitution will be the highlight of all tours offered in the park throughout the weekend and on Constitution Day. So take a tour of Independence Hall, visit Congress Hall, see the park's copy of the Constitution in the Great Essentials Exhibit in the West Wing of Independence Hall, and celebrate the 225th anniversary of the United States Constitution with us.
A unit of the National Park Service, Independence National Historical Park was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1948. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Independence NHP covers almost 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States. The park is open from 9:00 am daily with the exception of Christmas day. A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets. Here, visitors can pick up a park brochure, park map, and the free, timed tickets required for Independence Hall. For more information visit the park's website, http://www.nps.gov/indeor follow us at twitter.com/independencenhp.