Philadelphia: Day 5 {Museum of the American Revolution, High Street on Market, Betsy Ross House, Elfreth’s Alley}

Our last day in Philly was just as gorgeous and full as the rest. Here’s how we wrapped up our visit…

Philadelphia Adventure

Days 1-2: Dalessandro’s Steaks, Lacrosse, Valley Forge, Founding Farmers, King of Prussia Mall
Day 3: Kimpton Monaco Philadelphia Hotel, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant
Day 4: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, National Constitution Center, Reading Terminal Market, Eastern State Penitentiary, City Tavern
Day 5: Museum of the American Revolution, High Street on Market, Betsy Ross House, Elfreth’s Alley

Museum of the American Revolution

We started with a before hours tour of the Museum of the American Revolution. Our small group ended up just being the four of us, which was fantastic!

The museum is beautifully done, full of artifacts, interactive exhibits, movies and so much more. Our guide took us on a chronological tour of the American Revolution. He was great with the kids, and kept all of us engaged and interested throughout.

A highlight of the Museum is being able to see Washington’s war tent! It is very fragile and no photographs were allowed. We saw one place where Washington stayed in it in Valley Forge. It was a wonderful experience to tie so many things we learned back together in touring this museum.

One of my favorite artifacts in the museum was the Success to the Triphena punch bowl. The bowl and its message were intended to commemorate a voyage of the Triphena in 1765 when it carried a plea from Philadelphia merchants to merchants in Liverpool asking for help getting the Stamp Act repealed. This bowl was found during the 2014 archaeological excavations done before the Museum of the American Revolution was built. It was located near the bottom of the Museum’s excavated site in what had been the privy of an illegal tavern. I thought that was so neat that when they were selling replicas of the bowl in the gift shop, I couldn’t resist.

Another favorite was this Forester Flag. It was one of the earliest American flags to have been altered after the Declaration of Independence. Beginning in 1776, Americans destroyed British symbols wherever they found them. This included removing the British Union from their flags. In this flag, the white fabric from the earlier Union design was reworked to create stripes. There are 6 on this side and 7 on the other, representing the 13 colonies.

One thing I would do differently is try to take this tour at the beginning of a Philly historical visit. It would paint a great overall picture before going to see and do the other things.

High Street on Market

After the tour, we walked to brunch at High Street on Market. I honestly can’t even remember how I found this place. It was good and convenient.

Betsy Ross House

From there, we continued on foot to the Betsy Ross House. We did the self guided tour as opposed to the audio tour. There were a couple of docents in the house available to answer questions and add context.

Speaking of the house, it was so tiny! In the ground floor front room you can meet Betsy and learn about her successful upholstery business.

The house is original and some pieces in the house are also original, like the chest on the left and chair on the right here in the parlor. All of the woodwork and tiles and most of the plaster are also original.

Upstairs was the bedroom she rented. (She never owned this house, just rented the shop space and bedroom). It was here that she sewed the flag in the privacy of her bedroom. It was a dangerous job and if the British soldiers found out, she could have been charged with treason.

If you’re curious about the flag being on the floor (I was), in Betsy Ross’ time there was no US Flag Code. It is displayed here to give an accurate representation of what it would have been like to stitch a large, bulky, 10-foot flag. However, in compliance with modern Flag Code, there is cloth underneath the flag keeping it off the floor.

Elfreth’s Alley

The final stop of our Philly visit was Elfreth’s Alley. This exceptional collection of early American structures was built from the 1720’s – 1830s! It was the most charming stretch of homes and we were shocked to learn that 29 of the 32 homes are privately owned and lived in.

We walked back to our hotel and bid a fond farewell to Philadelphia!

Thanks for following along!

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