History, Tourism and Public Spaces

Pew has played a leadership role in building Philadelphia’s tourist economy, supporting marketing efforts and aiding a number of capital projects that make the city a more exciting place to visit.

For example, in the mid-1990s, Pew joined with city and state officials to create the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and served as a catalyst in the $300 million redevelopment of Philadelphia’s Independence Mall in the heart of its historic district, which included the creation of the Independence Visitor Center, the National Constitution Center, and a new pavilion for the Liberty Bell. Pew is now working with the National Park Service and other partners to redesign the Franklin Court Underground Museum, the only museum completely dedicated to the life and legacy of Benjamin Franklin.

Pew has a long-standing history of supporting projects that help preserve Philadelphia’s historical and cultural treasures. For example, we helped restore the historic Christ Church in the Old City section of Philadelphia—the church where Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and founding citizens worshipped. And we supported the restoration of the monumental bronze sculptures by renowned artist Alexander Milne Calder that adorn the tower of City Hall and the Benjamin Franklin national memorial at the Franklin Institute. Other civic initiatives include the revitalization of Franklin Square and the Fairmount Water Works, as well as its adjacent gardens and cliff paths, and support for decorative façade lighting along the Avenue of the Arts.

A major focus in recent years has been the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the tree-lined boulevard that connects City Hall to the vast greenery of Fairmount Park, and home to many of the region’s most important cultural institutions. We recognized that the Parkway needed to be more attractive, convenient and friendly for pedestrians, bicyclists and other public use to reach its full potential. Thus, we joined with a consortium of partners to support extensive landscape and streetscape improvements between John F. Kennedy Plaza and Eakins Oval. Visit the slideshow of images of a renewed Parkway.


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