When we visited Philadelphia’s historic section with four young kids, it was hard to guess which things the kids would like and which would be, well, boring for them. Even kids who like history like to have it be interesting. It turns out that Franklin Court was one of our favorite stops of the day.
The photos I’d seen of Franklin Court were strange, showing a huge metal frame of a house, and descriptions of an underground museum were hard for me to picture. Once we arrived, however, it all made sense.
The big metal frame is indeed there, indicating the place where Benjamin Franklin’s house stood. Around the courtyard that contains the house frame are the museum entrance, print shop, and post office.
The museum is indeed underground, with a long ramp in the hallway from the outside entrance. It is run by the National Park Service, and rangers are on hand to answer your questions. We got there just in time for a movie about Benjamin Franklin’s life, which was interesting and informative for all of us. I hadn’t realized just how much time Ben Franklin had spent away from his wife and family in order to serve the United States.
From the museum, we moved to the printing office, where a park ranger gave a demonstration of a printing press like Franklin would have used. Many of Ben Franklin’s sayings were posted on the walls. We enjoyed watching the printer in action.
Next door, Benjamin Franklin’s early post office still stands. Upstairs is a postal museum, which is a series of displays on the walls, but downstairs is a working post office. We had purchased postcards earlier in the day, and addressed one to each of the kids to be postmarked and sent from the post office. It’s a special remembrance of our trip.
If you visit Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, don’t miss Franklin Court. It was one of the highlights of our day.
Photo credits: minnemom on flickr
Linda (minnemom) and her family braved a 17-day, 3700-mile winter roadtrip to Philadelphia.
She writes of her family vacations at Travels with Children.