Stuck in line at the Liberty Bell? Here's a great way to fill your time - visit the Philadelphia History Museum.
If a trip to Philadelphia is on your mind, chances are a visit to the Liberty Bell is on your list. The Liberty Bell is actually part of an amazing complex that includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, and an open air exhibit on the history of slavery. It's a must-stop activity that every visitor should do at least once... provided you have the mettle to brave the crowds. And the lines. And then more lines! So if you're waiting around for the lines to dissipate or looking to experience a less hectic history experience, I have just the thing - about 200 meters around the corner.
The Philadelphia History Museum is just a minute's walk away from the Liberty Bell, yet you might easily miss it if you didn't know it was there. It provides a perfect introduction to Philadelphia's history and gives tremendous insight into just why those popular sites command just so much attention. It's a fantastic place to spend an hour or two getting better acquainted with the City of Brotherly Love and, frankly, I'd rather spend time here than outside in the lineups!
Philadelphia may be one of the oldest cities in North America, but the museum is anything but dusty or cluttered. Artifacts are beautifully displayed and labeled and the information boards contain interactive iPads so visitors can learn more about the displays at their leisure. Philadelphia has been at the forefront of American politics for centuries and it wasn't surprising that many of the artifacts had a political connection, from early municipal concerns to far reaching federal matters such as the abolition of slavery.
My absolute favourite part of the museum was a section where individual artifacts were exhibited in their own glass display case. Around the sides of the case were different talking points, like what connection that object had with the city of Philadelphia or what different kinds of discussions it would inspire. I'm sure it was designed to be child and teacher friendly but I loved it too! I wish more museums would do this - it really drew me into items I would normally never stop to examine.
It's not every museum that can engage visitors in subjects outside their normal spectrum of interests but my head was spinning every time I went in another room. They do a fantastic job of connecting the city's rich history with modern day concerns and I can't imagine a better way to start a visit to Philadelphia.
What can museums do to make your visit better? Do you like the use of modern technology in the displays?
Looking for a little 200 Meter Challenge around the world?
200 Meter Challenge: Dublin
200 Meter Challenge: London
200 Meter Challenge: Montreal