AAA World Article

National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center in historic Philadelphia is America's most hands on history museum.

AAA World Article

All Photos Courtesy of The National Constitution Center
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On May 9, 2019, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia will open Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality, the first exhibit in America devoted to exploring the constitutional debates from the Civil War and Reconstruction. The exhibit will feature key figures central to the era—from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to John Bingham and Harriet Tubman—and will allow visitors of all ages to learn how the equality promised in the Declaration of Independence was finally inscribed in the Constitution by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, collectively known as the Reconstruction Amendments.

The National Constitution Center Exhibit
Telegram sent to Jefferson Davis when Virginia voted to secede from the Union, 1861. Exhibit in Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality
Photo Courtesy of Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University


The 3,000-square-foot permanent exhibit gallery will feature more than 100 artifacts, including original copies of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments; Dred Scott’s signed petition for freedom; a pike purchased by John Brown for an armed raid to free enslaved people; a fragment of the flag that Abraham Lincoln raised at Independence Hall in 1861; and a ballot box marked “colored” from Virginia’s first statewide election that allowed black men to vote in 1867.

The National Constitution Center Exhibit
Tin dressing kit used by a female volunteer at the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Hospital, ca. 1860s. Exhibit in Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality
Photo from the Collection of the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia on loan from Gettysburg Foundation


The exhibit will also feature artifacts from the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia—one of the most significant Civil War collections in the country—housed at and on loan from the Gettysburg Foundation and The Union League of Philadelphia.



National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA, (215) 409-6600

For more details visit


This attraction was originally featured in the May/June 2019 digital version of AAA World.

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