Philadelphia, PA - Discover the true stories scattered throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District in the places they actually happened with Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches.
Once Upon A Nation’s Storytelling Benches at 13 locations around Philadelphia’s Historic District offer people all ages a free perch and professionally told story. Engaging storytellers regale their audiences with tales of the well-known and not-so-well-known people who shaped America’s history. Among the real-life characters are Oney Judge, an enslaved woman who escaped from George Washington’s Philadelphia home to find freedom in New Hampshire; iconic reformer, author, statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Yarrow Mamout, an elderly African Muslim painted by portraitist Charles Willson Peale Benches and Robert Hemings. Yarrow was both the half-brother-in-law and personal servant of Thomas Jefferson. Benches are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Maps of the bench locations are available at the Independence Visitor Center. 6th & Market Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
Discover the true stories scattered throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District in the places they actually happened with Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches.
Throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District, you’ll find 13 storyteller benches featuring free, five-minute tales and secret stories told by uniformed, professional storytellers.
For example, everyone knows that Betsy Ross stitched the United States’ first flag, but not too many realize that the famous seamstress was a three-time widow, an entrepreneur and a munitions maker. Few know that Independence Hall, the birthplace of the nation, once had a museum on the second floor that housed a mastodon skeleton.
Children can pick up a Story Flag at any storytelling bench, then collect a star from every storyteller on their journey. Flags with all the stars can be redeemed for a History Hero Certificate and a free carousel ride on the Parx Liberty Carousel at Franklin Square.
Bench Locations & Hours
Storytellers can be found at the 13 signature benches in Historic Philadelphia at:
1. Independence Visitor Center
2. Independence Square, behind Independence Hall
3. Signer’s Garden
4. Second Bank
5. 18th-Century Garden
6. Powel House
7. The ACE Charitable Foundation Storytelling Bench at Carpenters’ Hall
8. Franklin Court
9. Christ Church
10. Betsy Ross House
11. Arch Street Meeting House
12. The Lincoln Financial Storytelling Bench at the National Constitution Center
13. Wawa Storytelling Bench at Franklin Square