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May 7, 2013

Explore Often-Unseen Landmarks And Hear Behind-The-Scenes History During A Philadelphia Open House Tour, May 13-19

Discover the hidden gems of our fair city like America's oldest hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital, at the Philadelphia Open House Tours, May 13-19. (Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC)

Discover a wide array of Philadelphia landmarks — both lesser-known and familiar — during Philadelphia Open House Tours, May 13-19. Returning for the 2013 spring season, The Philadelphia Open House Tours are a special event hosted by the Philadelphia Hospitality, Inc., an organization which offers insider-access specialty tours all year long.

This round of tours begins on Monday, May 13 at America’s first hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital. From 10 to 11:30 a.m., visit the landmark that was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1751. Learn about the historic architecture and also visit the oldest surgical amphitheater in North America, where patients underwent operations without anesthesia or sterile technique (yikes) by the “Father of American Surgery” Dr. Philip Sing Physick.

Come Friday, the bustling and spacious Navy Yard shows off its business campus and naval vessels during an afternoon tour. From 2 to 4 p.m. on May 17, the nation’s first naval ship yard welcomes guests on a walking tour through the 1,200 acre space that features historic areas of the Navy Yard and a look at the variety of architecture throughout.

Also, learn about the fascinating history of ancient Egypt at the Pharaoh’s Flowers: Botanical Treasures from the Fabled Tomb of Tutankhamun tour at the Penn Museum. On Sunday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., get an exclusive look at the flowers and plants that were buried in King Tut’s tomb. Dr. Stephen R. Phillips invites guests to learn how the flowers and plants in the tomb can alert historians and scientists to the cause of his death and when he died.

Lovers of all things free, take note.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts play host to free events. Explore the rare materials housed at the landmark, self-guided tours of The Athenaeum are available from 1 to 5 p.m., and guided tours are available at 2 p.m. (registration is required for the guided tours). The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts invites art-lovers to a live demonstation of conservation methods for a variety of art forms. Join conservators as they showcase their best conservation techniques for guests at this behind-the-scenes tour.

The series of events also includes many more tours as well as open discussions with some of the city’s most prominent architects, city planners and designers at three separate events over the course of the week.

Ticket prices for each event vary. The full schedule of tours (including a photography session around the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a Wanamaker Organ tour), is available online. Be sure to book your ticket soon to guarantee your spot at these exclusive tours and discussions.

Philadelphia Open House Tours
When: May 13-19
Where: Participating locations
Cost: Varies
More info: www.philahospitality.org

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