Once Upon a Nation

Free Programs, Tours, & More

Starting July 2, Historic Philadelphia, Inc. is bringing a mini Once Upon A Nation season to Philadelphia’s historic district and Valley Forge National Historical Park

Storytelling Benches in Historic Philadelphia

Enjoy true stories from Philadelphia's past!

Three one-of-a-kind award-winning Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches are within Philadelphia’s Historic District, telling riveting stories of our nation’s history in the places where they actually happened. Specially-trained, uniformed storytellers delight and entertain with free, short 3-to-5-minute stories while sharing the secrets of Philadelphia’s and America’s history. The free storytelling benches will be at these three locations in the Historic District:

  • Independence Square, behind Independence Hall
  • Franklin Square
  • Betsy Ross House sponsored by the George C. and Esther Ann McFarland Foundation
*Independence Square, Franklin Square: July 2 - September 6 (also July 4, Sept 5 & 6), Fridays & Saturdays: 11 am - 4 pm
*Betsy Ross House: July 2 - September 6, Thursdays through Mondays: 11 am - 4 pm


Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Bench at Valley Forge

Guaranteed to educate and entertain, this one-of-a-kind Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Bench will take place at one of two locations in Valley Forge National Historical Park. Storytellers, trained at the unique Benstitute, share riveting stories of the encampment, and how it became a turning point in the Revolutionary War. Short, 3-to-5-minute stories are told for free at the signature 13-foot curved bench.

July 2 – October 24, Saturdays and Sundays: 11 am - 4 pm

  • ONE location: Visitor Center (Saturdays) or General Washington’s Headquarters (Sundays), FREE


History Makers

Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s Once Upon A Nation offerings include immersive free interactions for children. History Makers, the costumed interpreters from Philadelphia’s past, meet and greet visitors and regale them with tales from their times.

 

Flag-Raising at the Betsy Ross House

Start your day in the charming Betsy Ross House courtyard with Betsy Ross raising the thirteen-star flag with pomp and circumstance.

July 2 – September 6, daily, 10 am

  • Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street, open daily, 10 am - 5 pm

Free Quaker Meeting House

Meet a History Maker and learn about their impact on Colonial Philadelphia in this historic house of worship. FREE.

Through September 6: Fridays and Saturdays, 11 am - 4 pm

  • Free Quaker Meeting House, 5th & Arch Streets

Meet the History Makers

History Makers, the costumed interpreters from Philadelphia’s past, meet and greet visitors and regale them with tales from their times. Meet them, take photos with them, and the memories will linger forever.

Beginning July 2, throughout the summer, Fridays and Saturday, 11 am – 4 pm

  • THREE locations: Independence Visitor Center, 599 Market Street, and Two throughout Independence National Historical Park (locations rotate)

Once Upon A Nation is created and operated by the non-profit Historic Philadelphia, Inc. in partnership with Independence National Historical Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park.