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Welcome to the audio tour for our 2023 special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, narrated by Director of Education and Community Engagement Adrienne Whaley.

Below you will find the audio track stops. At the bottom of this page, we offer transcripts and a quick description of all the audio tracks. Enjoy!

Audio Tracks

Audio Tour Descriptions & Transcripts

Stop 1 - Introduction
Director of Education and Community Engagement Adrienne Whaley welcomes you to the audio tour and what to look out for in the exhibition.
Open Stop 1 Transcript

Stop 2 - At War, At Sea
Hear how James Forten's father Thomas introduced young James to the sailmaking business and how a teenaged James set out to serve as a privateer during the Revolutionary War.
Open Stop 2 Transcript

Stop 3 - Captured!
Learn about when the Royal Louis, the privateer ship James Forten served on, was captured and the time he spent as a prisoner aboard the British prison ship, Jersey.
Open Stop 3 Transcript

Stop 4 - Jersey Muster Book
Explore the ledger book that recorded the names of the men, including James Forten, held aboard a British prison ship, the Jersey.
Open Stop 4 Transcript

Stop 5 - Forten's Sail Loft
Step into the recreated 18th century sail loft to learn about James Forten's sailmaking business that helped him become one of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia.
Open Stop 5 Transcript

Stop 6 - Black Philadelphia and African Churches
Discover the role the African Methodist Episcopal church played in the lives of James Forten and his family.
Open Stop 6 Transcript

Stop 7 - From Slavery to Freedom in Philadelphia
Learn about how the enslaved people of African descent in Revolutionary-era Philadelphia sought and found freedom from enslavement.
Open Stop 7 Transcript

Stop 8 - Mary Virginia Wood Album
At this object highlight stop, hear about the small book where Mary Virginia Wood collected signatures from her friends and what the object can tell us about the era.
Open Stop 8 Transcript

Stop 9 - Black Entrepreneurship and Forten's Parlor
Learn how Black men like James Forten and Cyrus Bustill found business success in Revololutionary-era Philadelphia and what kinds of causes they supported with their wealth.
Open Stop 9 Transcript

Stop 10 - Forten Family Objects
Hear more about objects, like a table that once was used in the Forten household on Lombard Street, have remained family heirlooms and are on loan from descendants for display in the exhibit.
Open Stop 10 Transcript

Stop 11 - The Forten Family
Explore the lives and legacies of James Forten and Charlotte Vandine Forten's nine children.
Open Stop 11 Transcript

Stop 12 - Battling Slavery, Defending Freedom
Discover the work of James Forten and his family in the abolition movement, including his wife and daughters' involvement as founding members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.
Open Stop 12 Transcript

Stop 13 - Colonization and Abolitionism
Learn about James Forten's opposition to a the growing movement to resettle Black Americans in Africa.
Open Stop 13 Transcript

Stop 14 - The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society
Hear about Charlotte Vandine Forten and Forten's daughters Margaretta, Harriet, and Sarah's work as founding members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.
Open Stop 14 Transcript

Stop 15 - Mother Bethel Pew
At this object highlight, view a wooden pew that was once used at Mother Bethel AME Church on Lombard Street.
Open Stop 15 Transcript

Stop 16 - The Liberator
Learn about how James Forten's friendship with William Lloyd Garrison helped established the most widely circulated anti-slavery newspaper of the era.
Open Stop 16 Transcript

Stop 17 - Robert Purvis and the Underground Railroad
Hear more about how James Forten's son-in-law Robert Purvis helped freedom seekers heading north through Philadelphia via the Underground Railroad.
Open Stop 17 Transcript

Stop 18 - Final Years
Discover how James Forten's legacy lived on after he died on March 4, 1842, after battling an illness.
Open Stop 18 Transcript

Stop 19 - Civil War
Learn about how James Forten's granddaughter Charlotte L. Forten taught recently freed people of African descent in South Carolina as the Civil War raged on.
Open Stop 19 Transcript

Stop 20 - 127th USCT Flag
Explore the story of this extremely rare surviving silk flag painted by Black artist David Bustill Bowser in Philadelphia.
Open Stop 20 Transcript

Stop 21 - Charlotte L. Forten's Journal
Hear about the detailed journals Charlotte L. Forten kept throughout her life and see an original copy of one.
Open Stop 21 Transcript

Stop 22 - Forten Family Bible
Learn about the Forten family's Bible that has been passed down through generations, logs births and deaths of family members, and is on loan to the Museum from a direct descendant.
Open Stop 22 Transcript

Stop 23 - A Family of Revolutionaries
Conclude your tour of the exhibition and hear about how you can continue exploring the life and legacy of James Forten throughout the Museum and Philadelphia.
Open Stop 23 Transcript

Audio Tour Policies & FAQs

Do I need to use headphones in the galleries?
While we do not require guests to use headphones, we ask that you keep your phone at a low volume that is considerate of the guests around you. The Museum does not provide headphones for cell phones. Museum staff reserves the right to ask you to turn down your volume.

Can I switch to a Museum-issued audio tour wand?
Yes. If your personal device fails or you feel the wand would result in a better experience, you may return to the front desk to check out an audio tour wand.

Does the Museum provide free WiFi?
Yes! Log in to MoAR Guest to access the Museum's guest WiFi network.

Can I access the audio tour on an app instead?
The Museum's audio tour is hosted on Soundcloud. If you prefer to access the audio tour via the Soundcloud app, you can download the Soundcloud app from the App Store (Apple devices) or Google Play (Android/Google devices) and install on your device.

What other guided tour options does the Museum offer?
The Museum is happy to offer a wide range of guided tour options, including early access, highlights, family, and outdoor walking tours.

Do members get discounted audio tours?
Yes! The audio tour for our core galleries is just $3 for members. View more of your benefits as a valued Museum member or learn how to become a Museum member and join the Museum family.

My phone died. What are my options?
There are outlets in the lobby on the first floor and outside Washington's War Tent on the second floor where you may sit by your phone to relax and recharge. The Museum does not provide chargers for your device.

Learn More

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Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia

February 11 - November 26, 2023
Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia explored the story of James Forten and his descendants as they navigated the American Revolution and cross-racial relationships in Philadelphia to later become leaders in the abolition movement in the lead-up to the Civil War.
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Learn more about the Museum's ADA compliant facilities, exhibits, and programs.
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