Roundup: Our Picks For Martin Luther King Day Celebrations In Philadelphia, Including Free And Discounted Admission To Some Of The City’s Popular Museums

Martin Luther King Day brings a ton of events to Philadelphia, all in the name of honoring Dr. King's legacy, life and work. (Photo credits clockwise from top left The Franklin Institute, G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia, J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia, Kimmel Center)

Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who promised and brought positive change to a nation, in a number of ways this week and weekend in Philadelphia.

Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 20, is a day to honor the man who caused so much change in the world of civil rights.

From orchestral concerts to free admission at museums, Martin Luther King Day — and the weekend leading up to it — are full of family-friendly events to honor his legacy and work.

And if you’re looking to be more of an influential leader yourself, the city has you covered. Look forward to discussions and workshops to help bring out the MLK in you in addition to the Day of Service events across Philadelphia — and the country for that matter, that celebrate the man who evoked hope in millions.

Read on for our picks for Martin Luther King Day celebrations.

Eastern State Penitentiary: Spend your day off at Eastern State Penitentiary as it honors Dr. King with free readings of his iconic text, Letter From Birmingham Jail, by professional actors. While the readings are free, reservations are required. Click here to order your free ticket online. Based on availability, tickets will also be available at the door. In addition to the free readings, also look forward to interactive activities and a MLK edition of Eastern State’s winter adventure tours.

National Constitution Center: Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with $5 admission to the National Constitution Center. Inside of the museum, enjoy performances relating to the work of Dr. King, crafts and interactive activities. Can’t make it? Tune in to a special MLK Day edition of The National Constitution Center’s hall pass web series. NCC staff members and educators will be available for live chat for any questions you may have from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.

African American Museum in Philadelphia: Enjoy free admission to the African American Museum all day and celebrate with special events and activities including hands-on service projects, a community celebration with live performances, readings and more from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Franklin Institute: The Franklin Institute honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with showings of his I Have A Dream on the walls of Franklin Hall at the top of every hour. Additional events include an “African American Scientists Scavenger Hunt” and the creation of a wall of dreams.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be opening its doors Monday for a day-long Arts & Service Workshop featuring activities for all ages. Arts and crafts created will be donated local service organizations while The Camden Sophisticated Sisters & The Distinguished Brothers of CSS will provide live entertainment. The PMA will be pay-what-you-wish on Monday, January 20.

National Museum of American Jewish History: Admission to the National Museum of American Jewish History will be free all day as the museum commemorates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At 11 a.m., see the Sister Cities Girl Choir perform, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m, participate in a family-friendly comic strip workshop presented in collaboration with Fleisher Art Memorial. Plus, anyone who brings a non-perishable food item will be entered to win a family-level museum membership.

More picks, below.

Martin Luther King Tribute Concert at Girard College: Listen to The Philadelphia Orchestra perform a 90-minute concert consisting of Western classical music, African music, an a capella performance and a reading of Dr. King’s iconic I Have a Dream speech set to music. Directed by Cristian Măcelaru, the concert coincides with the end of the countywide Day of Service, allowing volunteers to attend the afternoon of music. The concert is completely free, but free tickets are required. Click here to reserve your tickets.

National Liberty Museum: The National Liberty Museum opens its doors for free admission in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Embark on hourly guided tours of the museum, create themed crafts and learn how to be an upstanding citizens at an hour-long workshop. Register here for the free workshop.

Martin Luther King Day Reflection at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting: Reflect on the life and work of Martin Luther King at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 20. Surrounded by the work of internationally renowned light artist James Turrell, experience the gently changing colors of the free exhibition while paying homage to Dr. King. Reservations are usually required, but not on January 20.

Orchestra 2001 at The Kimmel Center: On Saturday, January 18, The Kimmel Center invites Orchestra 2001 to the stage for a series of new music to commemorate Dr. King. Listen to Orchestra 2001 perform a clarinet concerto (a premiere!) based on the last year of Dr. King’s life. The new song will feature the principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera. Also look forward to a performance by Play On, Philly, a musical group of young people from West Philly, a gospel performance and poetry reading. Tickets are $15 for students, $25 for seniors and $35 for adults. Tickets are available online.

ARMOUR & Menzfit Present: In Per Suit of Change: In the spirit of Martin Luther King, bring new or gently used men’s accessories to ARMOUR, a men’s boutique on Fabric Row to benefit MenzFit, a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged men find jobs. Donations will be accepted through Monday, January 20.


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