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Philly historic sites close amid talks over federal hiring freeze

Mostly smaller sites and one bathroom

The Franklin Court Printing Office and Bindery exterior facade in Old City.
The Franklin Court Printing Office and Bindery is one site that has closed amid talks over the federal hiring freeze.
Courtesy of NPS

A number of historic sites scattered throughout the Independence National Historical Park have been closed due to the president’s hiring freeze on most federal jobs, according to reports.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that at least seven smaller sites and exhibitions throughout the park have been forced to close, including the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Memorial, which is considered the smallest and one of the least visited national park sites in the country.

To be clear, the memorial house is typically only open in the spring and summer months and is closed from November through March. So it may still open for its regular spring and summer hours.

But other exhibits that are typically open year-round, such as print shop at the Ben Franklin House, are also closed for the next few months, according to the report and the National Park Service website.

The bathrooms at 5th and Chestnut streets, across from Independence Hall, have also been closed since January 1, 2017.

The president of the union that represents the park’s employees said that the round of closures is due to President Trump’s hiring freeze on most federal jobs. But the National Parks Service would not confirm to the Inquirer that was the reason the sites have been closed:

Representatives from the National Park Service would not comment specifically on the closures despite several requests. An Independence National Historical Park spokeswoman said in a statement that the agency was still consulting with the federal Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget on how to implement the hiring freeze, and that last month OMB had approved the Park Service’s plan to hire seasonal employees. The email did not say what jobs those seasonal employees would fill, or whether those jobs were specific to Philadelphia.

Here is a full list of the sites that are currently closed within Independence National Historical Park, according to the National Park Service website and the park’s own list of March 2017 building hours. A majority of these are typically open year-round unless otherwise noted.

* Denotes that the site is seasonal and only open during the spring and summer months