The University of Pennsylvania (then the College of Philadelphia), located In the heart of the city, was at the center of the dramatic events of 1776 and the Revolution that followed. Members of the Penn community were closely linked to the creation of the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents.
The Semiquincentennial (250th anniversary) of the Declaration of Independence, also being referred to across the country as America 250, provides the Penn community with an ideal opportunity to re-examine one of the founding documents of our country from both historical and contemporary perspectives. The Penn Libraries is taking the lead in bringing together colleagues from across campus to begin a conversation about how we might recognize this anniversary through a range of programming, from exhibitions art commissions and performances to innovative courses and conferences, which engages with a number of important ideas raised by the Declaration that continue to resonate in our time.
The first program is a conference on Teaching Independence, scheduled to take place March 25-26, 2022.
Working with other institutions across Philadelphia, including the Museum of the American Revolution, the American Philosophical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Library Company of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania seeks to play an instrumental role in exploring multifaceted approaches to recognizing how history can help us better understand the present and create a sustainable and inclusive future.
The first program is a hybrid conference, Teaching Independence: Bridging the Communications Gap, scheduled for March 25-26, 2022. More information.
Exhibits & Events
The following Penn organizations and departments are currently in conversation about planning for America 250. Come join us and make your voice heard now and in 2026!
- Penn Libraries (Constantia Constantinou, Nicky Agate, Lynne Farrington, Nicholas Okrent, Sean Quimby, John Pollack, Jon Shaw, Deborah Stewart, Brigitte Weinsteiger)
- Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center (Valerie De Cruz)
- Annenberg School for Communication (John Jackson, Jr.)
- Architectural Archives (William Whitaker)
- Arthur Ross Gallery (Lynn Marsden-Atlass)
- Center for Experimental Ethnography (Deborah Thomas, Alissa Jordan)
- Center for Teaching and Learning (Bruce Lenthall, Ian Petrie)
- Civic House (David Grossman, Herman Beavers)
- Common Press (Mary Tasillo)
- Graduate School of Education (Jonathan Zimmerman)
- Institute of Contemporary Arts (Zoë Ryan)
- Kelly Writers House (Al Filreis)
- La Casa Latina (Krista Cortes)
- McNeil Center for Early American Studies (Emma Hart)
- Makuu Black Cultural Center (Brian Peterson)
- Pan-Asian American Community House (Peter Van Do)
- Penn LGBT Center (Erin Cross)
- Penn Live Arts (Christopher Gruits, Kristin Winch)
- Penn Museum (Chris Woods, Tena Thomason, William Wierzbowski)
- Penn Press (Walter Biggins, Robert Lockhart)
- Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (Bethany Wiggin)
- Penn Women’s Center (Sherisse Laud-Hammond)
- Sachs Program for Arts Innovation (John McInerney, Chloe Reison)
- School of Arts and Sciences
- - Asian American Studies (Fariha Khan)
- University Archives (Jim Duffin)
- Vice Provost for Student Engagement (Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum)
- Wolf Humanities Center (Jamal Elias, Sara Varney)
If you would like to attend our next meeting or simply be kept up to date on the planning, please email Lynne Farrington (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About the image: Detail from engraving of Benjamin Franklin overlaid with the signatures of eight University of Pennsylvania signers of the Declaration of Independence: James Wilson, Francis Hopkinson, Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, Robert Morris, George Clymer, William Paca, and Thomas McKean (all from Ms. Coll. 621, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Penn Libraries; image by Chris Lippa.)