Independence Hall is the birthplace of America. The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both debated and signed inside this building. The legacy of the nation's founding documents - universal principles of freedom and democracy - has influenced lawmakers around the world and distinguished Independence Hall as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Construction on the building started in 1732. Built to the Pennsylvania State House, the building originally housed all three branches of Pennsylvania's colonial government. The Pennsylvania legislature loaned their Assembly Room out for the meetings of the Second Continental Congress and later, the Constitutional Convention. Here, George Washington was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in 1775, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, and Benjamin Franklin gazed upon the "Rising Sun" chair in 1787.
The collections at Independence National Historical Park tell the story of the creation of the American nation. They reflect the new American identity. Collections range from furnishings, glass, and metalwork created by skilled Philadelphia artisans, to images on canvas and paper. Many 18th and 19th century American artists are represented, including a large number of works by Charles Willson Peale.
Independence National Historical Park Virtual Museum Exhibit
Teaching with Museum Collections Lesson Plans