Monday, July 27, 2015


Elaine and I were going to go to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology today.  It's one of our favorite places.  But then I went to check on the hours of operation and found it was closed on Monday.  So I called Elaine (who is staying with her girlfriend Donna) to tell her.  We figured it's Philadelphia.  Something HAS to be open.

After googling several places, I said, "Hmm.  Independence Hall is open.  So is Franklin Court.  And the Liberty Bell.  We can always do Olde City.  And there's the National Constitution Center.  I haven't been there yet.  Yeah, let's do Olde City."  Just then Elaine called me back and said, "Why don't we do Olde City and the National Constitution Center?"  Talk about great minds thinking the same.  So that's what we did.

Elaine came over here and we left in her air conditioned car (ah...) to go downtown.  I knew just how to get there so it was really easy.  We parked in the Constitution Center lot and took the elevator up.  The hall when you walk in is massive.  And there are flags from every state hanging from the ceiling.

 I must say that the people who work in that place are the nicest people.  Every single one of them had a smile on their face.  Every one came over to us to ask if we needed anything or could help in any way.  At one point I asked where to find the cafe and the lady actually walked us to the door.  One lady was packing up her belongings as if she were leaving for the day and she still stopped to answer my question and made sure we had seen all the exhibits. Another guide even told us how to get to some of the other historical attractions in the area.  It was wonderful.  

We bought our tickets and then headed to the Signers' Hall.  It is a room full of life sized bronze statues of the signers of the Constitution.  Elaine said that she heard they took actual measurements that they found in historical documents to make these figures.  Get ready for a lot of pictures because I took a lot.

The doorway to the exhibit.

Here is the delegation from Massachusetts.

And the delegation from North Carolina.

This quote from George Washington was on the wall.

And here's George himself.

I had Elaine take a picture of me standing next to him so you could see just how tall he was.  I'm 5 feet 2 inches.  So I'm guessing he was over 6 feet.  He was the tallest one there.

Here's our good friend Benjamin Franklin.

And the rest of the Pennsylvania delegation.  That's Gouvenor Morris right behind Ben.
They had these little plaques attached to the floor by each figure so you knew who they were and something about them.  This is James Wilson from Pennsylvania.

And here he is.  He is the one who actually coined the phrase "United States".  I never knew that.  I learn something new every day.  He is also an ancestor of my friend Marion who you saw in the pictures from yesterday.  And if you look at the two of them, you can see a resemblance.

There were several little tables around explaining things about the Constitutional Convention.

I was amazed at the detail in these statues.  The shoes had soles, heels, buckles and even wrinkles in the leather like a worn shoe.

The sleeves had ruffles and the hands had vein showing.  Or wrinkles.  Or callouses.

Even the hair and the ribbons holding the hair were detailed.

Look at the little buttons on the pant leg and how the material pulls.

Everything was perfect down to the ribs in their knitted stockings.  And some of the stockings even had knitted designs in them.  Yet each person had their own unique clothing.

John Dickinson of Delaware.  Ever hear of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA?  It was founded by Benjamin Rush, a signer of The Declaration of Independence, and named after John Dickinson and his wife, Mary.  It was the first college founded after the formation of the United States -- September 9, 1783.  There's your history lesson for the day.

And here's John Dickinson.

We all know James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, and his very popular wife Dolley.

Here he is.

Roger Sherman of Connecticut.  He was the only person to sign all four great papers of the U.S.:  The Continental Association, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and The Constitution.

Here's his figure.

I think my favorite figure was Alexander Hamilton.  I kept coming back to look at him.  He was short.  Not much taller than I am.  And he has a sort of air about him.  He led a rather interesting life and if you don't know about him, please look him up and find out.

Elaine wanted to stand with the New Jersey delegation since she lives in New Jersey.  This is William Livingston and William Patterson.  There is a Livingston, NJ and a Patterson, NJ.  Now we know who they were named for.

This is a view from outside the entrance door.
 Although it was my favorite room in the building and we probably spent the most time there, it was a little creepy.  I kept turning around thinking someone was behind me.  I saw figures out of the corner of my eye and it felt as if they were coming up on me.  I finally just had to leave.

After we left the Signers Hall, we went into an exhibit on the Bill of Rights.  The tour guide was fantastic!  He was so knowledgeable about things.  There was a copy of The Declaration of Independence that was one of the original first edition copies made from the actual document.  The one in the vault in Washington, DC.  There was a British couple there who were asking all sorts of questions.  The tour was in progress when we joined it and the guide was saying how the Americans beat those British.  Then he turned to the couple and said, "Oh.  So sorry."  The British man said, "Oh, don't be sorry.  You did!"  Ha, ha.

We got to see the first printed copy of the Constitution.  Not a copy, but the real thing.  Then we went into a room and saw the original Bill of Rights that was sent to Philadelphia in 1787.  There were 14 copies made, one for each state and one for the federal government.  This was Pennsylvania's copy.  It was very faded, but the writing was beautiful.  And the lines were so straight.  I could never write that straight.

From there we went to see the show "Freedom Rising".  The actors were wonderful and the projections onto the walls, floor and a four sided screen that was let down from the ceiling were just so outstanding.  Of course because of the fragility of the Bill of Rights and the show being copyrighted we couldn't take any pictures.  Believe me, I would have if I could have.

We exited the theater into a circular room full of all kinds of exhibits.  The one I liked the most was interactive.  There were computer screens with people's pictures on them.  You touched a picture and information about the person was put on the screen and a voice told you about the person.  Elaine and I stood there and did it over and over.  More pictures now.

This was a huge sculpture of law books.

I mean HUGE!

A model of the Supreme Court Building.

A model of the U.S. Capitol building

"As your President, I promise...."  I'd like to try.  I think I could do a better job than most of the people running for the office.

A sight all too familiar to me... the dreaded jury box.  There was a film running in this section with a judge and a bailiff telling about the judicial system.

Around the outside walls were pictures of historical events and presidents.  Here's FDR.

Mc Carthy and Harry Truman

The iconic kiss by the returning sailor.

The march in Hollywood with Bogie and Bacall leading the way.

Ronald Reagan

When you look around and remember so many presidents in your lifetime it makes you feel sort of old.  Fortunately I do NOT remember these presidents:  Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe.

 We were both very thirsty and a bit hungry so we went downstairs to get something to eat.  As we came off the stairway we saw these huge windows and a view of Independence Mall.

The Mall

Independence Hall

The steeple on Carpenter's Hall where the Continental Congress met.
 We just had a little something at the snack shop.  Elaine had been wanting a PHILLY soft pretzel so she was really happy to get one.

Then we decided to walk the two blocks to see the Liberty Bell.  I haven't seen it in a long time.  It used to be in a glass building in the middle of the mall and I would eat lunch in front of the building several times a week and just look at it.  But I haven't been to see it since it moved into its new building.  
We saw lots of tour buses as we walked along.
The building is very nice and has LOTS of security.  Being Philly girls we studied the Liberty Bell in school growing up.  So we walked right past all the history exhibits and went right to the back to see the actual bell.  I took lots of pictures, but I will spare you and show you just a few.

Elaine with the Liberty Bell.

Me with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in the background.  I first saw the bell when I was 5 years old.  But that's a story for another day.  I'll have to tell you sometime.
 We were going to go to Independence Hall but it was getting late so we just snapped some pictures and will visit it another day.

This statue of George Washington was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln's.  He made a speech in front of it one time.  When Lincoln's body was traveling to Illinois for burial, it was laid in state in Independence Hall.  My great-great-great grandmother and my great-great grandmother stood in line all night to be able to see his body in the morning.  And they stood right here by the statue.

We walked back to the Constitution Center along 5th Street so we could get the car and head for home.  I am not used to walking so far and was getting really tired besides having my back hurt me from that tumble I took.  We stopped to rest and saw these carriages.  It was the perfect photo oportunity.  When we started up again I walked over to the back carriage and told the man I thought his horse was beautiful.  He thanked me and said the horse's name was Ben and Elaine and I could pet him on the nose.  So we did!

Our last stop was to visit Benjamin Franklin's grave in Christ Church burial ground.

Here is the grave of Benjamin Franklin and his wife Deborah.  You see lots of coins because it's supposed to be good luck to throw a penny on his grave although there were nickles, dimes and quarters on there too.  The church uses the coins to help with the upkeep of the grounds.

This is the burial site of the Franklins' oldest son, who died at age 4 of the smallpox epidemic.  He was supposed to be inocculated but Ben and Deborah put it off.  They were devastated when he died and became crusaders for smallpox inoculation.

This grave was right next to the Franklins.  I knew the name Bache but couldn't place it until tonight when I started to put this post together.  Sarah (or Sally as they called her) was Franklin's daughter.

We got back to the Constitution Center, got the car, and made great time going home just missing rush hour.

After resting for about an hour we went out to eat at the Suburban Diner.  I haven't been there for so long.  Joe went with us and said it was good to get out of the house.  We had a good dinner and called it a day.  A GOOD day!  It was fun to play tourist and see and do all we did.  Tomorrow it's off to Lancaster to celebrate Elaine's actual birthday.

One more picture and that's for the July photo challenge.  The prompt is "cloud".  Since I love to take pictures of clouds, I think I can find one for you.  How about this?

I'm linking up with Kati at Kati's Little Corner of the World for this photo challenge.



  1. Is that Elaine I see in the background of the contingent from North Carolina? Ha ha! Love all the photos! I haven't been inside yet so it seems I have a lot to look at. Russ & I do walk around outside occasionally,the park & buildings.....You gave a lot of info that I never knew. Thank you for sharing!
    Have a great day tomorrow!

    1. Thank you, Debbie. There was a lot of information there. I'm sure we all learned it in elementary school, but you forget things.

    2. Oops. I meant to add that you really should go and see it.

  2. Kathy, I wish I could have gone with you and your sister....what an interesting tour. I love to see history. Glad you and your sister had a fun time together. I bet it did feel good for Joe to be out and about. Blessings to all, xoxo,Susie

    1. I wish you had been there too. If you love history you would have loved this. And Philly is full of history. Living here for all of my life I sort of take it for granted.

  3. What a great day you had and it was so much fun 'traveling' with you through your pictures. I wish I had gone there in earlier times. I look forward to the pictures from today. Enjoy your day!

    1. Thanks, Linda! I'm glad you enjoyed the trip.

  4. Thank you for the tour!
    You must of had a great time, and getting a better education of our leaders from the past.
    I had to chuckle when I saw the Liberty Bell, it had legs!
    Have a great rest of your week!

    1. I didn't understand about the Liberty Bell at first. I had to go look at the pictures and then I saw that every one of them had people's legs showing. Ha, ha, ha! I had to laugh. Thanks for pointing that out. Growing up in Philly we had tons of classes about all of this. But you forget as life happens. It was a good refresher course.

  5. Beautiful cloud photo. I also enjoyed all the Independence hall photos and Liberty Bell, it's been so long since I've visited there.


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