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Indispensable Independence Hall

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – Exactly 238 years ago tomorrow, July 4, the Second Continental Congress met in the Pennsylvania State House to approve the Declaration of Independence. Now that house is Independence Hall, operated by the National Park Service as Independence National Historic Park. The park includes not only Independence Hall, but the Liberty Bell Center housing the historic, cracked bell. There’s also the Independence Visitor Center and the Benjamin Franklin Center. If you go, note that while no tickets are needed to see the Liberty Bell, you’ll need to pick up tickets at the visitor center for Independence Hall. Park officials suggest showing up early in the day or reserving tickets for Independence Hall ahead of time because ticket allotments are usually snapped up by 11 a.m. during the summer and holiday seasons. Tickets are free, but there is a $1.50 per ticket fee for those reserved ahead of time. See nps.gov/inde for more information. photos courtesy of NPS

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Famed as the site where the Declaration of Independence was signed, Independence Hall was also where framers debated and signed the U.S. Constitution.

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Public re-enactments in historic dress are part of the attractions at Independence National Historic Park, including this one from Flag Day. Next Tuesday, July 8, the park will re-enact to the very date and time the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.

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One of the most photographed sites at Independence National Historic Park is the Liberty Bell Center. The center opened in 2003 across from Independence Hall and allows visitors close access to the bell. The bell first hung in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) and cracked sometime in the early 1800s.

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The National Park Service launched a mobile app featuring options for Apple users such as ringing the Liberty Bell, signing a personalized Declaration of Independence and printing on Benjamin Franklin’s press.

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One of the historic artifacts at Independence Hall is this chair where George Washington sat while presiding over the Constitutional Convention. Tradition holds that at the signing Benjamin Franklin was optimistic about the document and said he “….had the happiness to know that the carving on the back is a rising, not a setting sun.”

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On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain in this assembly room of the then Pennsylvania State House. The Constitution was also debated and signed in this room.

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