Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Student Group Tour magazine will continue to provide ideas for planning educational travel. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information. 

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is located on one of the most historic square miles in the United States.

“Philadelphia is where history was made,” said Kerry Sautner, chief learning officer at the National Constitution Center. “Many groups come to see Independence Hall, where the Constitution was drafted and signed, and then make their way to the Constitution Center, where they will learn how the document affects us today.”

One of the museum’s most iconic attractions is Signers’ Hall, which brings to life the final day of the Constitutional Convention with 42 life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers. There are numerous famous faces in the room, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. “This adds dimension to the constitutional story and captures students’ curiosity about the people involved on that momentous day,” Sautner said.

Groups are able to customize a visit with activities, workshops, programs and guided tours. “The Center is a ‘theme park’ for constitutional knowledge in a way that is interactive, immersive, and promotes students having informed, authentic conversations,” Sautner said.

National Constitution Center exhibit
National Constitution Center exhibit, Philadelphia, Pa.
Credit: National Constitution Center

“Freedom Rising” sets the stage for the full museum experience with a 360-degree live theatrical production exploring the role of the Constitution in the American quest for freedom.

“The Story of We the People,” the National Constitution Center’s main exhibit, guides visitors through milestones in America’s history and reveals how the Constitution is as important today as it was in 1787. Here, students can participate in hands-on programs like Balance of Powers in which students explore scale models of the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court as they examine the checks and balances of government.

“Presidential Trivia is a favorite for students and teachers alike, presenting material intended to engage the audience in conversation and understanding, not just factoids,” Sautner said.

The Giant Constitution Board Game is another popular feature. Students compete to make it to the finish line first as they are quizzed on the Constitution and American history.

“The center offers hours of interactives for students,” Sautner said. “We know that students go back to their schools with challenging questions and want to dive deeper. Our online resources extend that learning and empower teachers to continue to make learning about the Constitution relevant by bringing it to the modern day.” 

For more about the National Constitution Center call 215-409-6800 or go to constitutioncenter.org.

Article by Michael McLaughlin