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Library Hall (American Philosophical Society Museum)
Library Hall (American Philosophical Society Museum)

Library Hall (American Philosophical Society Museum)

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549 Reviews
Free admission

Up until the early 18th century, books were almost exclusively owned by and available to clergy, universities, or wealthy people with private collections. In 1731, a group of some of Philadelphia’s most intellectually focused citizens, including Benjamin Franklin, decided to pool their resources and begin obtaining a large collection of books and other research materials that they all could use. Naming themselves the Library Company, this group would eventually house their collection in the original incarnation of Library Hall -- the first public library in America, and the predecessor of the Library of Congress.

Between the 1790s and the mid-19th century, the location of Library Hall would change several times due to the growth of the collections and financial troubles during the Great Depression. Its current home, a reproduction of its original Georgian-style building, was completed in 1966.

Now known formally as the American Philosophical Society Museum, Library Hall contains many historically significant volumes and documents, including the original journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition; a copy of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson; and a first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. The Hall also contains some of the world’s most sought-after collections of research materials on genetics, cultural anthropology and more.

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April-Oct: Thurs-Sun 10am-4pm; Nov-Dec: Fri-Sun 10am-4pm
105 S 5th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106
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Ghost Tour of Philadelphia by Candlelight

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia by Candlelight

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Philadelphia is one of the country’s oldest cities—and its centuries of history also include plenty of ghost tales, spooky stories, and other macabre myths and legends. Meet your costumed guide in Center City, and explore Philadelphia’s historical landmarks after dark. You’ll see the highlights of Old City, Society Hill, and Independence National Historical Park, and will also hear tales of hidden burial grounds, haunted houses, and other dark secrets.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$24.00
From
$24.00
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The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia

The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia

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Discover the birthplace of America on this guided walking tour through the country’s most historic area in Philadelphia. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Independence National Historical Park and more than 20 other historic sites on this 1.25-mile trek, including the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, and many more.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$19.00
From
$19.00
Taking safety measures

FAQ’s

Library Hall (American Philosophical Society Museum) hours of operation: April-Oct: Thurs-Sun 10am-4pm; Nov-Dec: Fri-Sun 10am-4pm. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.