Visiting the Great Essentials Exhibit in the West Wing

Color photo of the exterior of the West Wing, a two story red brick building with six windows across the top story and five below.
The West Wing of Independence Hall contains original printed 18th century documents as well as the inkstand most likely used to sign the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

NPS photo

 
Location
The Great Essentials exhibit is located in the West Wing of Independence Hall, on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Entrance is through a security screening area on Chestnut Street, just west of 5th Street.
 
Hours and Fees
Open daily from 9am to 5pm.
There is no fee to enter; it's FREE.
 
Ticketing
No tickets are required to visit the Great Essentials exhibit. Entrance is first-come, first-served.
 
Exhibits
The exhibits include original printed copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution. Also on display is the Syng inkstand, believed to be the silver inkstand in which 56 men dipped their pens to "mutually pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" in the cause of independence. On view for a limited time: the Declaration of Common Aims of the Independent Mid-European Nations. Signed in 1918 in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall and modeled on the US Declaration of Independence, this document proclaimed independence for the nations of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Greece, Romania, Albania, Armenia and Ukraine and autonomy for all the peoples of Europe.
 
Accessibility
The West Wing is wheelchair accessible through the south door. Learn more about the accessibility services offered throughout the park on our website.
 
Security
Visitors must pass through a security screening area to visit the buildings on Independence Square, including the Great Essentials exhibit in the West Wing. The screening area is located adjacent to Old City Hall, near the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets. To maximize your visit to the park, and minimize your security screening time, the park recommends that you bring only small bags, if necessary. The fewer items you have to be checked, the more time you will have to enjoy the buildings on Independence Square. No weapons, pepper spray, or pocket knives are permitted through security.
 
Images and Historical Information
Additional information about the Great Essentials exhibit in the West Wing is available on the park's website. See photos below.
 
 

Last updated: April 18, 2022

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