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Tours

Sessions Workshops Meals Tours Features Exhibits Info
Thursday, April 4
9:30am-3pm Underground Railroad Tour
Friday, April 5
9:45am–1:00 pm Historic Black Churches  
9:30am–11:30am Founding Father's Walk
10am-11:30am The Destruction and Preservation of Chinatown
Saturday, April 6
10am–11:30am From the Ghetto to the Gayboard
10am-12:30 pm Museum of the American Revolution Panel and Guided Tour
1pm-3pm Eastern State Penitentiary Guided Tour
Sunday, April 7
9:30am-1:30pm Work and Workers in Philadelphia: An OAH History Tour

Descriptions

Underground Railroad Guided Tour

COST $55 | Limited to 37 people

This tour will guide you to specific sites where enslaved Africans, determined to be free, were aided by the Free African Society (1787), The Pennsylvania Abolition Society (1775-1787) and abolitionists like William Still, William Whipper, Frances E. W. Harper, Robert Purvis and so many others. This tour includes a guided tour of Mother Bethel AM Church, Fair Hill Burial Ground, Johnson House Historic Site, and the Church of the Advocate. Transportation and admission fees are included.

The tour is hosted by Jacqueline J. Wiggins who is a long-term resident of North Central Philadelphia and currently is a semi-retired educator. She has over forty years’ experience as a teacher in public, parochial, and charter schools and is an adjunct instructor of English for Community College of Philadelphia. She has been an administrator at two HBCUs-Historically Black Universities and Colleges, namely, Florida A& M University and Bennett College in institutional advancement. At the University of Massachusetts and Mt. Holyoke College, she worked in residential housing and education. Jacqueline has resource development experience working with many non-profit organizations. In 2014, Jackie became an elected committee person for the 32nd Ward-11th Division in North Central Philadelphia. She is active with a group called Stadium Stompers that is focused on preventing a 35,000-seat sports stadium from being built in a residential neighborhood by Temple University. As a docent/tour guide, she gives tours of the Johnson House Historic Site and is the founder of her business Wiggins Tours and More.

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Historic Black Churches

COST $50 | Limited to 37

The Philadelphia Black Church Tour includes a brief stop at Mother African Zoar Methodist Church(1796), the oldest United African American United Methodist congregation; Berean Presbyterian (1880); and Zion Baptist Church. Attendees will also receive guided tours of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest piece of property continually owned by African Americans; and the Church of the Advocate (1887), which was built as a memorial to merchant and civil leader George W. South. Under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Paul Washington from 1962-1987, this Episcopal church became a beacon of community empowerment, hosting the Second Black Power conference, the Black Panther Party Convention, and the ordination of the first women priests in the Episcopal church. Transportation and admission fees are included.

The tour is hosted by Jacqueline J. Wiggins who is a long-term resident of North Central Philadelphia and currently is a semi-retired educator. She has over forty years’ experience as a teacher in public, parochial, and charter schools and is an adjunct instructor of English for Community College of Philadelphia. She has been an administrator at two HBCUs-Historically Black Universities and Colleges, namely, Florida A& M University and Bennett College in institutional advancement. At the University of Massachusetts and Mt. Holyoke College, she worked in residential housing and education. Jacqueline has resource development experience working with many non-profit organizations. In 2014, Jackie became an elected committee person for the 32nd Ward-11th Division in North Central Philadelphia. She is active with a group called Stadium Stompers that is focused on preventing a 35,000-seat sports stadium from being built in a residential neighborhood by Temple University. As a docent/tour guide, she gives tours of the Johnson House Historic Site and is the founder of her business Wiggins Tours and More.

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Founding Fathers' Walk

COST $25 | Limited to 30 people

Philadelphia’s Market Street is the only street in America where four founding fathers actually lived: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and – of course – favorite Son – Ben Franklin. The city was home to Ben and the home-away-from-home for the other founders. Most of them spent nearly half of their public lives in Philadelphia, bumping into each other or trying to avoid each other.

We will trace some of the founders lives in the capital city, beginning with the President’s House, where George was trying to figure out how to be president, and where Oney Judge defied the most powerful man in America in her search for freedom. Our tour includes the site of the world’s first great peaceful exchange of power, the organization founded by Franklin to give regular people their own voice, and Franklin Court itself where Ben eventually built his “dreamhouse.”

We will visit the elegant city mansion most often visited by Washington when he stayed in the city. George and Martha celebrated their wedding anniversary there, Jefferson played his fiddle, John complained about the food, and Ben demonstrated his Kissing Machine there (so they say).

The tour will conclude the City Tavern at 11:30 am. Participants are invited to sign up for the Meet & Eat at the City Tavern following the tour.

This tour is led by Edward A. Mauger, President of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides. He has published three popular history books on Philadelphia and runs the training and certification program for the city’s professional guides. He has appeared on Good Morning America for his “unique behind-the-scenes tour of Philadelphia” and is featured on the History Channel in Sex and the American Revolution. Travel writers for USA Today and the Chicago Tribune have dubbed him “America’s best tour guide.”

Attendees will meet Edward A. Mauger at the Visitors Center cafe at 6th and Market Sts. at 9:30 am. The Visitors Center is 0.6 miles from the hotel and accessible by foot or bus.

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The Destruction and Preservation of Chinatown

COST $12 | Limited to 25 people

Like downtown Chinatowns across North America, Philadelphia’s Chinatown survives thanks to community movements and institutions that have resisted multiple eras of redevelopment that threatened to destroy it. This tour will explore the history of Philadelphia’s Chinatown from its formation in the 1870s, to its partial clearance and highway revolts in the post-World War Two era, to its recent gentrification and efforts at neighborhood preservation. We will discuss the City Beautiful plans that sought to eradicate this and other cities’ Chinatowns. We will see the Urban Renewal projects that surrounded the neighborhood on all four sides, as well as the housing, commercial architecture, and streetscape improvements that the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and other community groups have produced in response. We will discuss the campaigns of Asian Americans United and other activists who have fought off recent stadium, prison, and casino development proposals. And we will compare these experiences to the broader history of state and community planning for the redevelopment, destruction, and preservation of Chinatowns in other North American cities.

Along with the history of planning and community development in Chinatown, the tour will explore the social and economic history of this and other American Chinatowns. From a small community of mostly single Cantonese men before the mid-20th century, Philadelphia and other Chinatowns have become home to a diverse range of people and businesses from different regions and ethnic groups of China, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world. As middle-class Chinese and Chinese Americans increasingly live in the suburbs, the downtown Chinatown’s social, cultural, and economic functions have changed. These and other demographic shifts have called into question the survival, identity, and authenticity of many Chinatowns, sparking an international debate about what it means to preserve Chinatown.

The tour will conclude the Dim Sum Garden at 11:30 am. Participants are invited to sign up for the Meet & Eat at Dim Sum Garden following the tour.

Tour Guide: Domenic Vitiello is an urban historian and planner whose work focuses largely on immigrant communities. His recent work includes: “The Planned Destruction of Chinatowns in the United States and Canada since c.1900” (with Zoe Blickenderfer, in Planning Perspectives); “Who Owns Chinatown: Neighborhood Preservation and Change in Boston and Philadelphia” (with Arthur Acolin, in Urban Studies); and Immigration and Metropolitan Revitalization in the United States (edited with Thomas Sugrue, Penn Press). His current book project, The Sanctuary City, compares Asian, Latin American, African, and Middle Eastern communities’ experiences in Philadelphia since the 1970s. Prof. Vitiello is Editor for the Americas for the journal Urban History.

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From the Ghetto to the Gayborhood 

COST $ 25 | Limited to 20 people

This tour of Philly’s Gayborhood will tell the story of how Center City’s “20th century gay ghetto” became a 21st century inclusive and welcoming neighborhood. We will talk about the “Spruce Street Boys” and Philadelphia’s pivotal role in the 60s Homophile Movement and explore the “Lurid Locust” Street of the 70s and the booming 80s club culture along Walnut and Chestnut Streets. Finally, we will wander through the alleys and side streets of today’s Gayborhood, talking about bars, bookstores, and community spaces.

The tour will conclude at the Knock Restaurant and Bar at 11:30 am. Participants are invited to sign up for the Meet & Eat at Knock Restaurant & bar (page X) following the tour.

Bob Skiba is the curator of Collections at the LGBT Archives in Philadelphia and chair of Education and Events at the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides. He has given LGBTQ city tours for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists as well as for Temple University, UPenn, and Drexel.

He authored the Encyclopedia of Philadelphia history of the Gayborhood and worked with the National Park Service to create the Philadelphia LGBT Mapping Project.

Bob Skiba is a panelist on the session “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Philadelphia's Queer Past” on Friday, April 5.

The tour will conclude at Knock Restaurant at 11:30 am. Participants are invited to sign up for the Meet & Eat at the Knock following the tour.

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Museum of the American Revolution Panel and Guided Tour 

COST $20 | Limited to 55

10:00 AM Panel Discussion
"The American Revolution: Getting the Best New Scholarship to the Public"

The past decade has seen a flourishing of historical scholarship related to the era of the American Revolution. This panel examines how to share this new scholarship with the public through museums and through high school classrooms. The session’s professors, museum professionals, and teachers will discuss the challenges and opportunities of incorporating cutting-edge scholarship. The panel will take place at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia and will incorporate a tour of the museum, which will enhance our conversation. Advanced registration and a fee is required for the tour and session.

Chair: Andrew Shankman , Rutgers University
Panelists:
Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware
Kathleen DuVal, University of North Carolina
Thomas McGuire, Malvern Prepatory School
Philip Mead, Museum of the American Revolution
Jessica Roney, Temple University

11:30 AM Guided Tour
On this special 60-minute guided tour, experience the Revolution through the eyes of individual men, women and children with diverse political leanings, social classes, economic levels and conditions of freedom. Imagine the decisions they faced and how their lives changed as the Revolution unfolded around them and, sometimes, because of them. Guests receive Character Cards and a behind-the-scenes look at Through Their Eyes, the Museum’s core experience for student groups.

About the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dramatic, surprising story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and digital touchscreens bring to life the diverse array of people who created a new nation against incredible odds. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution. Located just steps 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.

Museum of the American Revolution
101 South Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Eastern State Penitentiary Guided Tour

COST: $35 | Limited to 40 people

Eastern State Penitentiary was the world’s first true penitentiary, a building designed to inspire penitence—or true regret—in the hearts of prisoners. Open from 1829-1971, the prison was abandoned for 20 years before becoming a museum and historic site. Today, the site connects the past to the present and offers dialogue-based tours and exhibits about the role of prisons in American culture.

This tour includes a 60-minute guide-led basic history tour of Eastern State Penitentiary. This tour highlights Eastern State’s fascinating 142-year history. Participants will walk the cellblocks and step inside a recreated cell; examine Eastern State's revolutionary architecture; discuss the "Pennsylvania System" of separate confinement; hear true escape stories; contemplate the lives of inmates and guards who once called Eastern State home; witness the deteriorating effects of the building's near two decade abandonment; and make connections between the history of Eastern State and prisons. After the guided tour attendees are free to explore the public spaces including the new exhibit Prisons Today: Questions In the Age of Mass Incarceration. This exhibit elicits personal connections to recent historic changes in the U.S. criminal justice system, encourages reflection, supports dialogue, and suggests steps that visitors can take to help shape the evolution of the American criminal justice system moving forward.

To prepare for this tour we encourage attendees to attend the Friday session “Philadelphia Past/Present: Public History and Contemporary Relevance.” In this panel, Eastern State Penitentiary staff member Annie Anderson will discuss the site’s rich history and evolving identity. As Manager of Research and Public Programming, Anderson develops exhibits, audio stops, signage, and programs about the history of the building; the people who lived and worked there; and the evolving identity of the American criminal justice system. She will discuss her work prototyping, researching, and co-writing Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration, and how the exhibit connects Eastern State's audience to an important contemporary issue.

Work and Workers in Philadelphia: An OAH History Tour

Cost $47 | Limited to 20 people 

This tour ventures into neighborhoods in Philadelphia that once brimmed with industry and employment—and working-class mobilizations and protest as well. Into Manayunk: site of the first textile mills and strikes of mill workers, its built environment a social history in itself with mills and worker homes at its lower reaches and the finer residences of mill manages and owners on the upper ridge, the steeples of four Catholic churches, respectively serving Irish, German, Italian, and Polish parishioners, also dotting the landscape. Into Kensington: neighborhood of the famed nativist riots of 1844, the center of Knights of Labor and CIO organizing, the most dense and diversified of Philadelphia’s industrial districts, a neighborhood where family and personal connections figured in employment and labor relations. Into Tacony: to see the vestiges of the Disston Saw Works and the company town fashioned by Henry Disston, a British immigrant whose firm for more than one hundred years produced fine-crafted saws and other hardware prized around the world. Into the Spring Garden District: to imagine the heart of Philadelphia’s formidable machinery and metal-works industry, including the sprawling plants of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, important site of the General Strike of 1910 that erupted in sympathy with striking transit workers. Into Nicetown: the site of the Midvale Steel Company, producer of specialty steel and cast and forged steel products, the place where Frederick Winslow Taylor developed Scientific Management practices, including time-and-motion studies, the only manufacturing firm in the city to hire sizable numbers of African American workers. And to points in between.

 

At least before 1900, Philadelphia occupied a central place in the chronicle of trade union activity in the U.S.—all to be noted during the tour. The city witnessed: the founding of the nation’s first trade unions; the first legal test of the right of workers to organize, the Cordwainers’ Conspiracy Trial of 1806; the formation of the first central trade union council, the first labor newspaper, the Mechanics Free Press, and the first Workingmen’s Party; and the first general strike (1835). Philadelphia served as birthplace for the National Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, the nation’s first national federations of unions. IWW and CIO campaigns marked the city in the twentieth as well the initial organizing of public sector workers.

The particular dynamics of the rise and eclipse of Philadelphia manufacture; the expertise, knowledge and sheer labor power that successive waves of immigrants contributed to Philadelphia’s industrial ascendency; child labor, women’s interrelated work in factories and homes and family economy; and the almost complete exclusion of African American workers from employment in industry until World War II: are general subjects raised by the tour. And, visibly inescapable is the devastation wrought by deindustrialization; the current fiscal and social crises of the city, the restructurings of employment, and glaring inequalities amid the seeming economic revitalization of Philadelphia hang over this venture into the past.

The tour is led by Walter Licht, Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, an economic and labor historian. The tour will make a pit stop for a pay-your-own lunch.