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Discover Philadelphia's rich political history as the City prepares to welcome the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Independence Hall in the sunshine. Photo courtesy of PHLCVB
This year will mark the election of the 45th President of the United States and what better place for the voting of candidates of the Democratic Party than Philadelphia, where America’s Founding Fathers forged democratic principles into the Declaration of Independence and changed the course of history in 1776.

At the Wells Fargo Center between 25 and 28 July, almost 5,000 delegates from across the country will gather to propose their nominees for the roles of President and Vice President of the United States in this year’s election. It will be the first time that Philadelphia has hosted the event for the Democrats since 1948, when Harry S. Truman and Richard Russell were selected to represent the party in the political race.

This year, however, is particularly poignant since it will be the first time in the United States’ 240-year history that a woman is put forward as the nominee for a major political party. No matter what your personal politics may be, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau is encouraging all lovers of America’s rich political history to discover what the USA’s first World Heritage City has on offer.

Absorb Philadelphia’s Profuse Legacy At Museums and Political Sites
There is no better place to discover the nation’s political history than in the city known as the ‘birthplace of America.’ So in the run up to the DNC, take the opportunity to get acquainted with the heritage of Philadelphia’s famous founding father while exploring the interactive displays, computer animations and more on display at The Benjamin Franklin Museum on Chestnut Street. While in the area, take a look inside Carpenters’ Hall – the spot where key meetings took place in the run up to independence – before strolling over to Independence Square, where you will find the Independence Hall, Congress Hall and the Old City Hall, all of which offer informative and exciting tours for free, daily. Just a few steps away you will also find the iconic Liberty Bell, which is displayed in a magnificent glass chamber, and President’s House, upon which site visitors can enjoy the foundations of the building that once played home to both George Washington and John Adams during their respective presidencies.

Immerse Yourself In American Politics At PoliticalFest
After exploring some of the city’s historic sites, delve further into US political past by checking out PoliticalFest, which will run from 22 to 27 July. This series of exhibitions will celebrate American history, government and the journey to the White House. Positioned at seven locations throughout the city, PoliticalFest boasts an unbiased programme that incorporates interactive displays, artefacts and special events to amuse and engage Philly residents and visitors alike. The National Constitution Center will act as the heart of PoliticalFest, where its exhibition, Headed to the White House, will allow visitors to examine the history and hubbub of electoral season. Furthermore, the Center will play host to a broad itinerary of captivating events, including live interviews, political trivia challenges and panel discussions.  

Explore The City’s Newest Cultural Contributions
A visit to Philadelphia must not overlook the amazing art on offer in the city. Quite appropriately, visitors this summer can enjoy the newly restored ‘Our Flag Unfurled’ mural by Meg Saligman for free, since the patriotic artwork is on display for all to enjoy, adorning the whole side of a warehouse close to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The mural was curated as an immediate response to the events of 9/11 by Saligman, who has greatly contributed to the quirky and cool culture scene that enticed her to the city, and is part of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, which runs tours throughout the city. Book yourself a place on the Mural Masterpieces East Trolley Tour to take in the art as part of a two-hour guide to the town’s incredible murals and graffiti or just head straight down to Columbus Blvd. and Noble Street to catch a glimpse of the artist’s incredible offering.

Don’t Horse Around: Find the Donkeys Around Town!
Once you’re fully clued-up on the history of the US constitution and Philadelphia’s most prominent events, take some time to engage in some light-hearted artwork by discovering the fibreglass painted donkeys dotted around the city. On display from 1 July through to September, ‘Donkeys Around Town’ features a collection of 57 fibreglass mules, all painted to represent the delegations attending the Convention: all 50 states, five United Stated Territories, Washington D.C. and Democrats Abroad.  Each of the beautifully painted donkeys, which were decorated by local Philly artists, will bear the name of the delegation it represents, along with iconic imagery pertaining to that particular region. A fun way to add some culture to your visit, these 250-pound casts will be on view at publicly-accessible locations, including the Independence Visitor Center, One Liberty Observation Deck and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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