Hooray for History

Despite having existed since 1938, I’m saddened to report that very few young people have heard of the Philadelphia History Museum, and they are quite confused when you bring it up.

Typical conversation:

Dumb Friend: What are you doing this weekend, Jordyn?

Me: I’m going to the Philadelphia History Museum so I can write a PEX blog about it!

Dumb Friend: You’re going to the art museum?

Me: No, the Philadelphia History Museum.

Dumb Friend: Oh, you mean the natural history museum?

Me: No, the Philadelphia History Museum how is this at all difficult I hate you.

This is an unfortunate course of events, because the Philadelphia History Museum (also known as the Atwater Kent), which has recently re-opened after extensive renovations, is a very interesting place to visit. Without further ado, here is a list of my Top Five Favorite Things about the museum

1. The Map

The first thing you see upon entering the museum is a giant floor map (courtesy of Rand-McNally) of the city of Philadelphia. You can find your house! You can find your school! You can find the exact intersection where some old lady hit you with her car! (for the record, it’s 12th and Oxford and I wasn’t at all hurt. I knew you were worried). I’m a big map geek––I wasn’t 8th grade regional geography bee champion for nothing––so this display was a lot of fun for me.

2. Philly, the Stuffed Dog

 philly the stuffed dog

The museum is filled with objects representative of Philadelphia’s past. One of these include the taxidermied corpse of “Philly”, a dog who bravely served in WWI…helping somehow. I forget what he did. But he’s stuffed and adorable and I love him

 3. The Ridiculous Commentary

I dig how enthusiastic the curators of the museum are about their subject matter, but sometimes their copy is a bit…over the top. Here’s an example:

george washington lock

Wow, thanks Philadelphia History Museum. That’s not a downer at all.

4. Getting my Picture Takenme


I am a very vain person. Here is a photograph of me posing in theFace to Facebook exhibit, which is filled with portraits of Philadelphia residents across the centuries.

5. The Craft Brewing: It’s a Beer Revolution” Exhibit

As my over-age readers are well aware, Philadelphia has a flourishing craft beer scene. This special exhibit traces the history of the beer industry in the city, from colonial era breweries to current powerhouses like Yards and the Philadelphia Brewing Company. Don’t worry if the exhibit makes you thirsty––the museum is only a few blocks away from the Old City bar scene.

Overall, the Philadelphia History Museum is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about our city’s history beyond what’s presented at Independence Hall and the other traditional tourist attractions.

*all photos courtesy of Don Hopkins and his iPhone.

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