Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Information from the National Constitution Center


Philadelphia, PA – Visitors to the National Constitution Center can enjoy a celebration of freedom stretching from the Revolution to the Civil War during the Feel the Freedom Festival: Celebrating Lincoln from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5, 2009. The three-day festival will honor Abraham Lincoln and other historic freedom fighters, including Fredrick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. The Center is presenting the Feel the Freedom Festival in conjunction with the Lincoln 200: The Bicentennial Festival on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia. All events at the Center are free with museum admission.

In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln famously looked back to 1776 and the nation’s founding when he called the Civil War a “new birth of freedom.” The Feel the Freedom Festival celebrates the commitment of generations of Americans to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that Lincoln fought to preserve.

Philadelphia was central to Lincoln ’s war effort, serving as a major center for recruiting, training, equipping, and transporting the armies that fought to save our nation. Nearly all of the men and supplies used in the eastern theater of the war were either made in, or passed through Philadelphia . Recruiting camps were even set up behind Independence Hall. During the Feel the Freedom Festival, a Civil War encampment will take place on the Center’s front lawn between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., featuring living history interpreters portraying Civil War generals, soldiers, nurses, civilians, and political leaders. Visitors will have the chance to meet General Meade, Clara Barton, and Frederick Douglass, among others, and observe demonstrations of Civil War era medicine and equipment, as well as military drills.

Guests will also have the opportunity to take a closer look at the Center’s rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln. Through an interactive presentation at 11:00 a.m., visitors will learn about the history of the Civil War and the background of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.

During the Lincoln 200 Scavenger Hunt, children and their families can explore the National Constitution Center and Independence Mall as they search for Abraham Lincoln between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Along the way, participants will learn about our nation’s historic struggle for freedom that culminated in the Civil War.

The Civil War was the first American war officially documented through photography. Visitors will see how images of war have been used to tell the stories of soldiers’ lives during a special demonstration at 2:00 p.m.

In addition, the Center will present a Fourth of July Show at 12:00 p.m. The interactive presentation will explore the history of July 4th from the very first words declaring America ’s independence to present day celebrations. Guests can also commemorate the birth of our nation with patriotic craft activities throughout the day, including the chance to make freedom poppers and whirly gigs.

The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, “Freedom Rising”. The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education. For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit

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