The day began in Washington Square with a tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution, an interfaith service, and a wreath laying.
The grand opening Wednesday took place on the 242nd anniversary of the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" that ignited the Revolutionary War in 1775.
"I really feel this is an important part of the history of Philadelphia and of our nation's revolution," Society Hill resident George Drach told Action News.
"It's historic. It's a long time coming. I'm glad it's happening now," soloist Lynne Galloway said.
Next stop was Independence Hall where governors Ed Rendell and Tom Wolf were among the dignitaries on the stage before the main event at the museum.
"The museum we open today tells the story of the creation of the American nation, how people from all walks of life found a bond in the soaring ideals of equality, freedom, and self-governance," museum CEO Michael Quinn said.
Sydney James Harcourt from the original cast of the Broadway show 'Hamilton' performed in front of the crowd which included former Vice President Joe Biden.
The 118,000 square foot museum is in its final stages of completing a $150-million campaign to build and open the museum at 3rd and Chestnut streets.
Its collections include several thousand objects that span the revolutionary era. There are also immersive galleries and theaters to help visitors experience history.
"This museum will provide greater insight into the sacrifices that were made in order to make the ideas that were first discussed in Independence Hall a reality," Kenney said.
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps