Battleship New Jersey
At 887 feet of armor-plated steel, the 45,000-ton Battleship New Jersey dominates not only the New Jersey waterfront, but also American naval history. Winding through tight, narrow companionways, visitors see the communication center, officers’ and enlisted men’s mess halls and sleeping quarters, which range from small private rooms for senior officers to even smaller cots stacked atop each other for enlisted men. The dimly lit Combat Engagement Center displays radar and sonar tracking stations, while videos show the launch of Tomahawk missiles. A highlight of the tour is the turret where 2,700-pound shells were loaded and fired. Best of all, some of the tour guides served active duty on the “Big J” and are more than happy to share their personal experiences.
Betsy Ross House
The well-known and loved story of Betsy Ross sewing the first Stars & Stripes is tightly woven into the colorful fabric of America’s rich history. The Betsy Ross House, the birthplace of the American flag, is alive with the sights and sounds of the 18th century. Tour the house and then stay a while longer to learn more about Betsy and her exciting life and times through our interactive, historical programming.
Dine, dance and take in the amazing views aboard Spirit of Philadelphia. Departing from Penn’s Landing, a dinner cruise on the Delaware River lets you relax and enjoy the beauty of Philly’s historic waterfront. An evening aboard Spirit is one you’ll remember! Cruise includes 2 ½ hours on the water, a 3-course dinner, and live entertainment and dancing.
Eastern State Penitentiary
When Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829, spectators from around the world marveled at its grand architecture and radical philosophy. The experiment, to reform criminals through strict isolation other than daily visits from the warden and guards, soon became a model for prison design worldwide. Once built, it was the most expensive construction in the USA at the time. Eastern State finally closed its doors as a prison 1971, after 142 years in use, and has since been named a National Historic Landmark.
Built between 1908-1912, Fonthill was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar and antiquarian, Mercer built Fonthill both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints. The first of three Mercer buildings in Doylestown, Fonthill served as a showplace for Mercer’s famed Moravian tiles that were produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Designed by Mercer, the building is an eclectic mix of Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and is significant as an early example of poured reinforced concrete.
They risked everything — “their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor.” During the blistering summer of 1776, 56 courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House and defied the King of England. Eleven years later, representatives from 12 states gathered to shape the U.S. Constitution, finally creating one unified nation. George Washington’s “rising sun” chair dominates the Assembly Room which is arranged as it was during the original Constitutional Convention. In the adjacent West Wing, the actual inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence and an original draft of the Constitution are prominently displayed.
As one of America’s most historic naval seaports, Olde Towne includes both the oldest operating Naval Hospital and the first operational dry dock facility in the U.S. – the Gosport Shipyard. Portsmouth also holds the proud distinction of being an official U.S. Coast Guard City, designated in 2009.
The State House bell, now known as the Liberty Bell, rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House. Today, we call that building Independence Hall. Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly Isaac Norris first ordered a bell for the bell tower in 1751 from the Whitechapel Foundry in London. That bell cracked on the first test ring. Local metalworkers John Pass and John Stow melted down that bell and cast a new one right here in Philadelphia. It’s this bell that would ring to call lawmakers to their meetings and the townspeople together to hear the reading of the news. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Catherine Ray in 1755, “Adieu, the Bell rings, and I must go among the Grave ones and talk Politicks.” It’s not until the 1830’s that the old State House bell would begin to take on significance as a symbol of liberty
The Mercer Museum is a history museum of everyday life in America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Henry Mercer (1856-1930) gathered the collection and constructed the Museum. The collection of some 40,000 objects documents the lives and tasks of early Americans through the tools that met their needs and wants prior to the Industrial Revolution, or about 1850. Visitors can choose their own paths through the Museum. Most of the 55 exhibit rooms and alcoves display the tools or products of an early American craft, trade or occupation. Other rooms show categories of objects such as lighting devices or architectural hardware.
Museum of the American Revolution
Philadelphia was one of the crucial hubs of the American Revolution, which makes Philadelphia’s Historic District the perfect place for an all-encompassing museum. The Museum of the American Revolution is an essential repository of artifacts and an absolute treat for American history buffs. Encompassing 118,000 square feet, the space holds an expansive collection of art, manuscripts and printed works from the nation’s Revolutionary Period.
Valley Forge National Historic Park
This maritime science museum on the downtown Norfolk waterfront features hands-on exhibits, self-guided tours of the Battleship Wisconsin, touch tanks, 3D films on a giant screen, NOAA exhibits, battleship exhibits, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, a restaurant, gift store, and more!
With more than 3,600 acres of rolling hills and well-worn trails, Valley Forge is now a magnet for runners, bicyclists and picnickers as well as history buffs. The monuments, statues and buildings that evoke more than 225 years of American history give this expanse of nature a palpable sense of the past, making it a favorite destination for families. The Welcome Center displays the exhibit Determined to Persevere, which utilizes Revolutionary War artifacts to depict life during the winter encampment. Visitors can touch muskets and see how the heroic General Washington lived in tough conditions.
The outbuildings — some authentic, like Washington’s Headquarters, and some replicated, like the Muhlenberg Brigade huts — bring that pivotal winter to life.