The British Are Back! Living History Event on November 6 Recreates the British Occupation of PhiladelphiaOctober 20, 2021
Walking Tours, Hands-On Demonstrations, Spy Challenges, and Other Family-Friendly Activities
In the fall of 1777, Philadelphia was seized by the British and occupied for nine long months. The Museum of the American Revolution will recreate this little-known time in our city’s history as part of its annual living history event Occupied Philadelphia on Saturday, November 6, 2021, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Museum will offer guided neighborhood walking tours and family-friendly activities exploring what life was like in the city while British forces controlled it.
The festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday as more than 60 costumed historical interpreters gather for the unfurling of the British flag and the reading of General Howe’s proclamation declaring Philadelphia an occupied city. Throughout the day, visitors will meet soldiers, civilians, prisoners of war, and spies as they demonstrate their trades—shoemaking, dressmaking, woodworking, practicing military drills and more—and perform street theater vignettes that bring dramatic moments from 1777-78 to life.
Ticketed hour-long walking tours will depart from the Museum and include stops at nearby historic sites, including Carpenters’ Hall (320 Chestnut St.), where the first Continental Congress met in 1774. Along the way, visitors will meet costumed interpreters and complete a spy challenge to aid the Revolutionary cause.
From 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., kids and their adults can join the Museum’s History Explorers for a special walking tour for a glimpse into life in British-occupied Philadelphia in 1777-78. Why did the British want to take over Philadelphia? How did Philadelphians feel about it? And where did General Washington go? Work together to answer these questions and gather the clues we need to complete our Occupied scavenger hunt! This tour is geared toward kids ages 6-11, but is fun for all ages. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are $9 for youth, $6 for adults can be purchased here.
Inside the Museum, guests can march into the Battlefield Theater to experience the front lines of battle during the Battle of Brandywine with rumbling floors, rising smoke, and the smell of gunpowder. The Battle, on September 11, 1777, resulted in a devastating loss for the Continental Army, leaving Philadelphia vulnerable. The British captured the city two weeks later on September 26, 1777, beginning the occupation that would last until June 1778. The galleries also include a recreation of Independence Hall when it was occupied by the British and served as a prison for American officers.
Activities on the Museum’s outdoor plaza are free and open to the public; walking tour tickets are sold separately or can be bundled with Museum admission. Tickets are $12 for the tour only; for the tour with Museum admission, tickets are $29 for adults, $26 for seniors, students and military, $21 for youth, free for kids 5 and under, and can be purchased in advance here, by calling 215.253.6731, or at the front desk.
The Museum’s special exhibition Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings of the Revolutionary War is included with regular Museum admission. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with enhanced health and safety protocols. Masks are required for all visitors ages 5 and up, regardless of vaccination status.
Occupied Philadelphia 2021 is sponsored by Ballard Spahr. Presented in partnership with Carpenters’ Hall and the Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia.
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 www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.