Have you made plans for your family for the upcoming Presidents’ Day weekend? More school districts are holding in-service days the Friday before the holiday, making it a four-day weekend.
Whether you have a day, or several, to spend with your family this weekend, keep in mind that there are many amazing family-friendly events happening over the long weekend related to Black History Month. There are engaging events and programs at some of Philadelphia’s larger museums—but you can also avoid the crowds, if you prefer, to explore smaller, less well-known historical sites that will also offer your kids a chance to explore the city’s rich African-American history.
My suggestions include:
The Underground Railroad: If your older elementary school, middle or high school kids are learning about the Underground Railroad, you can bring that history to life by visiting local sites that were real Underground Railroad stations. Visit Philadelphia has put together a downloadable guide to all of the historic markers of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia. If the weather is cold and more suited to a driving tour, Visit Bucks County has put together a similar driving guide for Underground Railroad sites in Bucks County.
The Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum: You can visit the home of the famous singer Marian Anderson—sure to inspire budding singers and performers. You’ll get to see Anderson’s personal memorabilia and also audiovisual displays about her life.
The African-American Museum of Philadelphia: There are great exhibits and programs happening at the AAMP and this Saturday, 2/16, features a program called Y.E.S., the Youth Experience Series. You can also pick up a student gallery guide to use while exploring the museum with your children.
The National Constitution Center: All month long, the Constitution Center offers a number of special programs to honor African American history, including a self-guided tour featuring President Obama inauguration artifacts, viewing of a rare signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and a giant game board activity to test your knowledge of African-American history. Bonus–admission is free on President’s Day (Monday).
The Belmont Mansion: You and your kids can take a tour of the Belmont Mansion, located in Fairmount Park. The mansion was built in 1745 and now serves as an Underground Railroad museum, teaching about Philadelphia’s role in helping slaves escape to freedom.
I’d love to hear about other events and tours going on in the city for Black History Month that would be especially fitting for families—please share in the comments below.