Please Touch Museum Centennial tour

May 20, 2013 9:08:45 AM PDT
When you think of the Please Touch Museum, you think fun for kids but there's also entertainment for grown-ups, especially those with a love of Philadelphia history.

The Please Touch Museum is housed in Memorial Hall and built for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. The Museum's Centennial tours offer a glimpse back in time when America was celebrating its 100th birthday.

The Centennial Exhibition opened almost exactly 137 years ago on May 10th, 1876.

200,000 people came through Memorial Hall the first day alone.

Phil, Centennial Experience Host, Please Touch Museum said, "This building was designed to be the art gallery for the centennial and it was the first international art exhibit in the US."

Some of the original sculptures are still there and there's a replica of the Fair's Statue of Liberty Arm and torch.

"The French people raised money for the statue. We had to raise the money for the pedestal so people could pay 10-cents and climb up inside," said Phil.

Each of the hall's rooms is a gallery dedicated to a different country.

A highlight of the tour is the giant model of the entire Centennial Exposition.

David Frazier Hutchman, Dir. of Performance and Events, Please Touch Museum said, "Because a lot of people don't even know that the fair was here and then when you see just how big it was, it's pretty phenomenal."

You also take a ride on the 1908 Dentzel Carousel.

Phil added, "It's an historic carousel. It's a work of art as well."

Immigrant artists carved the wooden horses by hand, and for years the carousel lived at nearby Woodside Park.

"We're a children's museum and we're not necessarily a history museum but the history cannot be denied,so we realized that a lot of people just wanted to see the history," said Hutchman.

The 90 minute tours run four days a week. For tickets and scheduling, go to Please Touch Museum.