National Constitution Center

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by zabelle on June 21, 2005

One of Philadelphia’s newest attraction is the National Constitution Center. It is in an attractive building behind the new visitor center. Walking into the large, open lobby, you are greeted by the flags of all 50 states. We had to ask for help to locate Connecticut, much to our chagrin. You need to walk all the way to the rear and purchase a ticket to the show. While you are waiting to get into the theater, you can visit the Hall of Signers.

The Hall of Signers features life-size bronze statues of all the signers of the Constitution. We learned something here that neither one of us knew - Thomas Jefferson didn’t sign the Constitution. He is an easily recognizable figure, so we looked for him. We did find Ben Franklin, James Madison (who is tiny), George Washington, and Roger Sherman (our signer). There are computer screens where you can get more information about any of the men in the room. There was a ranger walking around and helping anyone who looked confused. The concept is a very good one, and you really feel like you are one of them.

Get to the theatre before your ticket time, as we found the line of children quite daunting. There are some exhibits on the ground floor surrounding the theater where you listen to different people who were living in Philadelphia at the time the Constitutional Convention was going on, and they are giving their opinion. This was very interesting, as none of them had any idea what the outcome was going to be. We take the Constitution so for granted. There are also displays built into the wall that show off some of the archeological items found during the building of the center.

"Freedom Rising" is an audio-visual production that also has a live narrator. The Theater is impressive. Seating is not only comfortable, but the spacing is such that everyone has totally unobstructed view of the narrator, who is spotlighted in the center of the floor. You will be looking up, down, and around while listening to a very interesting narrative. No photographs are allowed in this part of the building, but their website has some very good ones. This whole production is well done and has enough music and stimulation to keep children well entertained.

After the show, you go up to the exhibits surrounding the theater on the second floor. There are exhibits to listen to, voting booths so that kids can actually try voting, and a whole lot more. One I particularly liked was what political candidates are saying about each other, Martin Van Buren and Andrew Jackson just to name two, and it was fascinating stuff, nasty too. If you haven’t visited the Hall of Signers, you exit right into it.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street on Independence Mall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106
(215) 409-6600

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