Troubling news about the financial fortunes of Independence Mall, (which houses the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Constitution Center and the Jewish History Museum,) is cropping up just as the National Museum of the American Revolution gets closer to breaking ground. Though many tourists come to Philadelphia for historical attractions, it looks like they prefer free activities to museums with expensive admission fees.
While both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are roaring successes by all accounts (the Liberty Bell got over 2 million visitors last year, and tours of Independence Hall often sell out before noon,) they're also free. Museums such as the National Constitution Center (which charges $15 for an adult ticket) and the National Museum of American Jewish History (which charges $12), are contemporary buildings without high-interest objects that they're known for. Though the Constitution Center hopes to change that up by adding one of twelve original copies of the Bill of Rights to its collection.
While many museums are having trouble attracting visitors, Independence Hall routinely turns thousands away. Though it's free to go on a tour, visitors must get a timed ticket, and the museum limits the number of visitors that can see it each day. If so many people are turned away from Independence Hall, other attractions ought to offer alternatives.
That's what the National Museum of the American Revolution hopes to do, but some are worried that it'll just be another competitor for already sparse funding dollars. The museum feels that they'll be more successful than many other museums on the mall: they say that they're ready to draw visitors by offering concrete objects from the Revolution that will draw historically inclined visitors (one such object is George Washington's tent). The museum only needs $10 million more dollars before it can break ground at 3rd and Chestnut.
· Trouble on the Mall [Axis Philly]