American Philosophical Society


The oldest learned society in the US was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin with the aim of 'promoting useful knowledge.' It continues on its mission by mounting a different themed exhibition each year on American history and science in their museum on the east side of the Independence Hall, the only section of the complex not run by the National Park.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Philadelphia attractions

1. Old City Hall

0.01 MILES

It was in this building, Philadelphia's Old City Hall, that the US Supreme Court made its first decisions between 1791 and 1800.

2. Independence Hall

0.04 MILES

The 'birthplace of American government', this modest, early 18th-century Georgian building is where delegates from the 13 colonies met to approve the…

3. Second Bank of the US

0.05 MILES

Modeled after the Greek Parthenon, this 1824 marble-faced Greek Revival masterpiece now houses a Portrait Gallery. Many of the paintings are by Charles…

4. Congress Hall

0.06 MILES

Congress Hall is where the first legislators met when Philly was the nation's capital. Entrance (no ticket necessary) is through the security checkpoint…

5. Liberty Bell Center


A glass-walled building protects this icon of Philadelphia history from the elements. You can peek from outside, or join the line to file past, reading…

7. Dream Garden

0.13 MILES

In the east lobby of the Curtis Center is a masterpiece of American craft: a luminous, wall-size Tiffany mosaic of more than 100,000 pieces of glass…

8. Carpenters' Hall

0.14 MILES

Erected as a calling card for the skillful work of the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia in 1774, this is where the First Continental Congress met.