New Perspectives in Old City

Saturday, August 31, 2019

1:00PM to 2:30PM

This tour offers attendees the opportunity to see the dozens of historic sites that visitors to Philadelphia expect to see. But those sites will be approached through critical analyses of eminent domain; the relationships between federal, state, local, and private interests; decision-making of multiple generations regarding whose history is preserved and presented; and the impacts politics, gentrification, changing scholarship, and other factors have on the formation and representation of American Identity in the area surrounding Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

In this 90-minute tour, attendees explore the history of the nation’s founding as told from the perspectives of the diverse peoples living and working in Philadelphia in the late-18th and early-19th centuries. Stops at more than 20, wide-ranging, historical sites and museums throughout Old City illustrate: 
• the processes that resulted in the creation of the historic district itself; 
• recent changes in sites’ individual and collective interpretations;
• the opportunities and challenges of telling state and local stories within Old City’s broader, national narrative; and, 
• the experience of working in public history in a neighborhood with more than 5 million visitors ranging from summer tourists to 5th graders to international visitors and more.

Old City has long been thought of—and too often treated as—a time capsule for bicentennial-style celebrations of narrowly defined patriotism, severely limited in historical breadth and depth. For those playing active roles in guiding the interpretations of Old City’s historic sites, museums, and broader identity, however, the future of Philadelphia’s historic district is one that unflinchingly presents more complicated narratives, engages new and more diverse audiences, and acknowledges the failures and limitations of earlier (and present) representations of the past.

AASLH Conference attendees receive a discount when selecting their tickets.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and will NOT be available “at the door.”

The tour will be offered on August 31, 2019.  It will begin at Welcome Park, located on 2nd Street, between Chestnut and Walnut Streets, across the street from City Tavern.  This is Welcome Park: