Blog, page 9

New Opportunities for Teachers

We’re so pleased that the Encyclopedia project has sparked a series of extraordinary workshops for Philadelphia-area educators.  Please add these to your calendar and register now:

  • City of Neighborhoods, April 17, 4-6:30 p.m., a free workshop at the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent.  Click here for more information and registration.
  • A Summer Teacher Institute!  During July, the Encyclopedia team together with our education consortium of civic partners, will offer “Philadelphia for Teachers,” a week-long institute for graduate credit.  In addition to an immersion in Philadelphia history, teachers will have the opportunity to research and write their own Encyclopedia-style essays, which may be considered for publication.  Click here for more information and registration.  Download a flyer for posting (PDF): Click here.

These opportunities are created by our education consortium, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, the National Archives in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, and Independence National Historical Park.  Thank you very much!

If you like us, please LIKE us

The deadline for comments to our Knight News Challenge proposal has been extended to March 29. Please see the links in the next post – it only takes two clicks to “like” us, and we also welcome comments, suggestions, and questions. This week we have more than doubled our “likes” – thank you! This is vital to our chances of moving to the next round of consideration.

Comment period extended for the Knight News Challenge – you can help

Thanks to everyone who has added comments, questions, and suggestions to our proposal in the Knight News Challenge.  The competition closes this Saturday, March 17, [update: Thursday, March 29], so please continue to participate – you may also reply to others who have posted their comments.  Here’s the link:

As you have seen from previous announcements, our proposal would expand the Encyclopedia project with news-related content and provide historical backgrounders to journalists, via Twitter.  We think this will also interest teachers, policy makers, and everyone who seeks connections between the past and the present.  Over the last couple of weeks, we have been experimenting with the Twitter feed, which is available to follow here:!/Backgrounders

Thank you for your participation – as always!

Your chance to see new exhibits at the Philadelphia History Museum!

Our next program in the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable series, “City of Neighborhoods, City of Homes,” will take place at the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent – a great chance to see the new exhibits there prior to the program.  Make sure to register in advance for the program at  Here’s a preview of the museum’s new offerings:

The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent recently reopened, in part, as a preview to the museum’s full reopening this summer. A three-year renovation has upgraded the pre-Civil War structure (the original home of the Franklin Institute) adding new galleries and two currently opened exhibitions with more to come this summer.

Start in the orientation gallery where City Stories: An Introduction to Philadelphia welcomes visitors in a multi-layered exhibition featuring almost 30 artifacts that help illustrate Philadelphia’s transition from the “greene country towne” founded by William Penn to the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed to the Workshop of the World and the World Champion Phillies. City Stories features an original media presentation with contemporary Philadelphians sharing their feelings on the city of neighborhoods.

Philadelphia Voices: The Community History Gallery serves as a preview space for the five additional galleries to be unveiled this summer. Celebrated artifacts displayed here, including Joe Frazier’s boxing gloves, George Washington’s pocket watch, and a Passmore Williamson family portrait, provide a further glimpse into the Museum’s extensive collection.

The Philadelphia History Museum: 15 South 7th Street
Free and open to the public Wednesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We’re Inspired, Too

Drawing inspiration from The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, a new encyclopedia effort is underway in Cheshire, Connecticut.  We’re pleased that the town historian, Jeanné Chesanow, shares our commitment to building a strong community for history and connections between the past and the present.  Read about her project in a Cheshire Patch report, where you can also add comments to encourage this endeavor.

We’re in the Knight News Challenge – you can help!

We are working on an exciting new project – “Backgrounder,” which will provide journalists with links to historical background information, delivered via Twitter.  Working with WHYY, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Temple University Libraries Special Collections Center, we propose to build up news-related content in the Encyclopedia, then provide it to reporters when they need it.  We also propose to provide new content related to breaking news, and that will become part of the Encyclopedia as well.

You can help us shape this project and earn funding for it by adding your feedback to the project proposal, which we have just posted in the Knight News Challenge:

You may also follow us on Twitter:!/Backgrounders

Thank you for your participation in the Encyclopedia project!

Philadelphia – the best kept secret?

Al Lee, one of the discussion facilitators at the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable program on “Philadelphia, the Place that Loves You Back,” provided us with this report:

If you were showing someone around Philadelphia, where would you take them? Art museums? Restaurants? Historic sites? I posed that question for group discussion during the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable Series “Philadelphia, The Place that Loves you Back.”

Everyone knows that Philadelphia is home to the iconic symbol, the Liberty Bell. But is that all we’re known for? Or is it cheesesteaks and a fictional boxer who served as the ultimate underdog? Maybe it’s none of the above and we’re really packing them in due to our unique shops and independent boutiques. Are they on your “ to do list ?”

Here is what a sample of local Philadelphians said:

“I would definitely recommend talking them to Independence Hall and Society Hill.”

“I don’t think people know how big Philadelphia really is. I would take them to the outskirts such as Chestnut Hill, Germantown and especially Longwood Gardens.

“I would take them where I would like to hang out on weekends. The Reading Terminal Market. Rittenhouse Square. Farmers Markets.  First Fridays. I love the Architectural Walking tours offered by the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. College Campuses and whatever events are coming up on the calendar.”

“No question, I would be sure they saw all the art galleries and ethnic neighborhoods including sections of Chinatown, South Philly, and West Philly. We would go on a cultural eating tour and enjoy all the outdoor art in the process.”

From this small survey, many did not even mention seeing the Liberty Bell or having a cheesesteak. Maybe we should change the slogan to “Philadelphia, America’s best kept secret.”

Thanks to Al and all of our volunteer discussion facilitators!  Don’t miss the next Greater Philadelphia Roundtable – the last in our current series – coming up on March 28.  For information and advance registration, visit

Register now for the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable

Registration is now open for the final three programs in the “Phrasing Philadelphia” series of the Greater Philadelphia Roundtable.  Please join us for these discussions and contribute your suggestions for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia:

  • “City of Firsts” – Thursday, January 19, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Franklin Institute.
  • “Philadelphia, the Place That Loves You Back” – Wednesday, February 22, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Independence Visitor Center.
  • “City of Neighborhoods, City of Homes” – Wednesday, March 28, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent.

For information on all programs and to register in advance, please visit
We look forward to your participation in this unprecedented exploration of Philadelphia’s history and experience.

Welcome to Our New Friends in Virginia!

This week we noticed a spike in traffic to our essay on yellow fever, by Simon Finger. We were very happy to discover that this interest came from Hines Middle School in Newport News, Virginia. Students in Ms. Christine Mullins’ sixth-grade social studies class used our essay in combination with other sources to build their critical thinking skills and learn about the yellow fever epidemic and life in the late eighteenth century. Welcome to our new friends! We hope you will find other topics of interest on our web site.

Connecting the Past with the Present, Building Community, Creating a Legacy