The British Are Back! “Occupied Philadelphia” Living History Event Recreates the British Occupation of Philadelphia, Oct. 28-29October 2, 2023
Walking Tours, Hands-On Demonstrations, Spy Challenges, and Other Family-Friendly Activities
Weekend is Sponsored by American Heritage Credit Union
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, Oct. 28, 2023, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Museum will offer guided neighborhood walking tours and family-friendly activities exploring what life was like while British forces controlled – or, for some people, attempted to liberate – Philadelphia.
Throughout the weekend, visitors can visit four key locations to meet soldiers, civilians, prisoners of war, and spies as they demonstrate their trades, like carpentry, dressmaking, wheelwrighting, leatherwork, and more:
- On the Museum's outdoor plaza, walk through a recreated marketplace environment, meet everyday people of British-occupied Philadelphia, and watch several artisans demonstrate their traditional crafts.
- On the lawn behind Carpenters' Hall, see a recreated British encampment, watch traditional military drills, and meet prisoners of war to learn what life was like for them under British occupation.
- In front of Carpenters' Hall, join in craft and military activities, and meet representatives from Independence National Park Service to learn more about Carpenters' Hall and the surrounding neighborhood during the 1777-78 British occupation.
- Inside the Museum’s core galleries, meet additional costumed living historians and join a Museum educator at a discovery cart to learn about the role of Black soldiers during the occupation. Plus, check out a small collection of artifacts related to the occupation and the Museum's neighborhood on the Museum's lower level. Regular Museum admission is required.
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28-29 at 10 a.m. | Free and open to the public
The festivities will kick off with more than 50 costumed historical interpreters gathering on the Museum’s outdoor plaza for the unfurling of the British flag and the reading of British General Howe’s proclamation declaring Philadelphia an occupied city.
Living History Marketplace
Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Free and open to the public
The Museum’s outdoor plaza will be staged with several marketplace stalls, including craftspeople such as carpenters, dressmakers, wheelwrights, farmers, and more.
Guided Walking Tours
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 - 29 | Additional ticket required
Join a guided walking tour and step into Philadelphia as it was occupied (or liberated?) by the British army in the fall of 1777. This hour-long walking tour will depart from the Museum every 30 minutes and includes stops at nearby historic sites to meet costumed interpreters and complete a “spy challenge” to aid the Revolutionary cause. Guests should plan on an outdoor tour of approximately one mile. Walking tour tickets can be purchased here. Member tickets can be purchased here.
History Explorer Kids Meet-Up: Occupied Philadelphia
Saturday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. | Additional ticket required
Kids and their adults can join a family-friendly, activity-filled History Explorer Meet-up to take a walking tour through Occupied Philadelphia’s festivities. Explorers will meet British soldiers and everyday residents, get a hands-on glimpse into life under British authority, and gather the latest information to pass onto the spymaster. At least one adult must accompany up to three children. Tickets can be purchased here.
Special Talk: The Archaeology of Occupation
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28-29, 1 p.m. | Free and open to the public
Join Independence National Historical Park Curator Debbie Miller in the Museum’s Liberty Hall to explore 70 years of archaeological work in the Park and reflect on what archaeology, including traces of the British occupation found in homes and buildings across the city, reveal about life in Revolutionary Philadelphia. Original artifacts from the Park's collection will be on display. This talk is free to the public, but attendees must check in at the Museum's front desk for an admission wristband. Museum admission is not included.
Museum Member Teatime at 2023 Occupied Philadelphia
Sunday, Oct. 29, 1-2 p.m. | Free for Museum Members
Museum Members are invited to stop by the Museum’s third-floor Liberty Hall for a spot of tea. While enjoying light refreshments, “loyal” Members and History Explorers alike will have the opportunity to spy on the bustling British-occupied marketplace on the Museum plaza from the terrace above. More information and free registration for Members can be found here.
Activities on the outdoor plaza are free and open to the public. Tickets for the guided walking tours and History Explorers Meet-up may be purchased in advance or on the day of the event.
The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia is open daily from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. through Nov. 26, 2023, and is included with regular Museum admission. Tickets to the Museum can be purchased by calling 215.253.6731, at AmRevMuseum.org, or at the front desk. Save $2 per adult ticket by purchasing online. Kids ages 5 and under are always free. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days.
Occupied Philadelphia is sponsored by American Heritage Credit Union.
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.