First Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence

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

Philadelphia -Independence National Historical Park will host the annual re-enactment of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on Independence Square on Sunday, July 8. Park rangers at Independence NHP will reenact the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence at the very location where Colonel John Nixon read this great document to the public in 1776. Media are invited to attend the event.

What: Reenactment of first public reading of Declaration of Independence
Where: Independence Square
When: Sunday, July 8, Introduction by a park ranger starting at 11:30 a.m.
Declaration reading promptly at noon

This free event begins at 11:30 am with an introduction by a park ranger and will be held on Independence Square. Visitors may enter through the security screening tent at 5th and Chestnut Streets or participate from beyond the security fence on the southern half of Independence Square (entering from Walnut Street). Those wishing to be on the Square should arrive by 11:15 am to ensure completion of security screening.

Costumed National Park Service rangers will mingle with the crowds and distribute free copies of the Declaration of Independence. Following the event, both uniformed and costumed park rangers will be available for interviews and photographs. An American Sign Language interpreter will be interpreting the event for our deaf visitors.

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

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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