King Charles II paid off a debt by giving a large piece of American land to William Penn. In 1682, Penn sailed west to found the Province of Pennsylvania. He planned and developed the city of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia does not get the credit it deserves for showcasing the 1700’s of American history. Unlike Boston which build up and around it’s historical sites, even changing the coastline with a massive dredging project that moved the harbor hundreds of yards, Philadelphia preserved theirs to our benefit. Experience Independence Hall where the debates about our Constitution and Bill of Rights took place. Wander Benjamin Franklin’s neighborhood and print a flyer on an old printing press. Take a private tour of the Powell House where George Washington would stay when he was in town and dance late into the night. XXX street is just as it was n the 1770’s. Take time to visit the churches that our founding fathers attended and sit in the same reserved seats. Almost 250 years have passed, yet you can still get a sense of the powerful debates that took place and changed the course of history.
The National Parks service operates two museums in Philadelphia, both of which have films worth watching. Betsy Ross’s, famous for sewing the first Stars and Stripes, house is also within walking distance as is the boarding house Thomas Jefferson stayed in while drafting our constitution. Discuss with your child how his education and knowledge of Greek and Roman history and philosophers influenced his writing.
While your there take in the tour of the Liberty Bell that at one time was on the back of every quarter. Also take a look at a dollar bill and refresh your memory on what is printed and why, so you can educate your child on the importance and thought that went into determining what message is told on every bill.
Philadelphia has a wonderful science museum where your child can work through many of Benjamin Franklin’s experiments. Walk through the galleries of paintings from the time period and see the wing of furniture from the 1700’s. See how familiar many of the pieces are to your house today. Save time to have your child draw as many of the historical spots as possible as well as take pictures in order to document the trip just as historians have done for thousands of years.
Just a short drive from the city, you can visit battlefields from the American Revolution and as well as the Civil War. Take advantage of the proximity and set up enriching your child’s education on the Civil War which takes place less than 100 years after the conclusion of the War for Independence. Trace back the issues that caused the Civil War back to the compromises needed to bring the 13 Colonies together in the 1770’s. Joseph J. Ellis’s book, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, details the debates that took place and the compromises made that would come back to haunt America.
Most of Philadelphia’s historical sites are within walking distance making it an easy place for families to visit. It is a wonderful city in which to enrich your child’s education making history very real and tangible.