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A screenshot of a 360-degree panoramic image from the Black Founders virtual tour.

Black Founders Virtual Tour is Free and Accessible on the Museum’s Website

With a newly launched virtual tour, people from across the globe can now experience a 360-degree walkthrough of the Museum of the American Revolution’s groundbreaking current special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia. The virtual tour can be found at It is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

The virtual tour explores the Black Founders special exhibit, on view at the Museum through Nov. 26, 2023, which brings to the life and legacy of James Forten, a free Black Philadelphian who came of age during the Revolution and used his wartime experience to forge himself into a successful businessowner, philanthropist, and changemaker. Using objects, documents, and immersive environments, the exhibit explores how Forten and his family became leaders in the efforts to abolish slavery and gain equal civil rights for all Americans.

In the Black Founders virtual tour, users can click through the exhibit in the immersive 360-degree environment or jump to specific displays. They also can click on cases to read the labels and zoom in on intricate object details. The tour features an accompanying audio guide, narrated by Director of Education and Community Engagement Adrienne Whaley, which is integrated throughout the tour to facilitate deeper dives into the exhibit’s highlights. Transcripts of each audio stop are also available.

“We are thrilled that this incredible new resource will allow people around the world to experience this powerful story firsthand,” said Matthew Skic, Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum. “We hope that it serves as a valuable resource for those interested in exploring to the story of James Forten and his remarkable family, who worked tirelessly to ensure that all people could enjoy the Revolution’s promises of liberty, equality, and a role in their own governance.”

A screenshot of a 360-degree panoramic image from the Black Founders virtual tour.

The virtual tour features more than 100 historical artifacts, works of art, and documents, including historical objects on loan from descendants of the Forten family on view for the very first time in a public exhibit. Highlights include a historic Bible (circa 1838) owned by the Forten family, that was recently donated to the Museum by Atwood “Kip” Forten Jacobs, James Forten’s great-great-great-great-grandson; two needlework samplers (1817 and 1822) stitched by James Forten’s daughters, Margaretta and Mary Forten, which have now been in the possession of seven generations of the family; a pew (1805-1841) from Mother Bethel AME Church; and the only surviving photograph of James Forten’s wife Charlotte Vandine Forten taken in Philadelphia in the 1860s, on loan from the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University.

The tour also incorporates multimedia elements found in Black Founders, including a listening station featuring a selection of music by Black composer and musician Francis Johnson. These historically informed recordings replicate what Johnson’s music might have sounded like in the homes, concert halls, and streets of Philadelphia during Johnson’s – and James Forten’s – lifetime.

The Black Founders virtual tour features a robust selection of teacher resources for using the virtual tour in the classroom. Resources include modular activities and worksheets, access to primary sources, framing essays, a glossary, and more.

Photography by Brandon Hull (HULLFILM). Black Founders is presented by Bank of America, Comcast NBCUniversal, and George C. and Esther Ann McFarland Foundation, with additional support from Independence Blue Cross, Morris W. Offit, Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Agency, The Richard C. von Hess Foundation, American Heritage Credit Union, Claudia and Richard Balderston, Ballard Spahr LLC, Aliya Browne and Reginald M. Browne, Electro Soft Inc., The Haverford Trust Company, Neubauer Family Foundation, PECO, Philip Syng Reese, Visit Philadelphia, and WSFS Bank.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit or call 877.740.1776.