Step foot onto the lush landscaped grounds of the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, and you're instantly transported to the Victorian era—a time when ladies toted lacy parasols, gentlemen sported tall silk hats, and children played with coal-powered Game Boys. Beyond the stately mansion's immaculately manicured lawns and brick façade lie 17 restored rooms, replete with lavish Rococo and Renaissance revival furnishings, elaborate ceiling designs, and Victorian-era appliances such as cast-iron stoves and gas-lit chandeliers.
This museum of Victorian architecture and culture hosts weekly tours, as well as a monthly Upstairs Downstairs tour that explores the lives and challenges of women in Victorian-era Philadelphia. The mansion also stages theater performances throughout the year, featuring the works of Victorian-era greats including Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, and Louisa May Alcott.
The curator at Woodmere Art Museum hangs gallery walls with pieces from the museum's collection of works of Philadelphia art. Museum founder Charles Knox Smith narrates local stories to accompany the pieces in his collection of artwork from the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes Sarah Fisher Ame's bust of Abraham Lincoln. Future exhibitions such as Force of Nature will give patrons a glimpse of Elaine Kurtz's abstracted perceptions of natural forces and austere, minimalist portrayals of Mother Nature's perfectly sorted recycling bin. Woodmere's nine galleries and salons provide ample space for the Special Exhibitions, which rotate throughout the year.
The Belmont Mansion was built in 1742 by an English lawyer named William Peters. As the Revolution approached, his son took charge of the estate and hosted many notable figures including George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. In the 250 years that followed, the house served as a model farm to promote scientific agriculture and a part of the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876.
Today, the American Women?s Heritage Society maintains the house and conducts tours through its hallowed halls, giving visitors a glimpse into the past. In addition to the historically decorated interior, tour-goers can explore the house's Underground Railroad Museum to learn about the people who fought against slavery by helping others escape its clutches. The museum features a variety of displays on both well-known and obscure history, plus a self-guided tour that permits visitors to listen to audio presentations.
It?s nighttime along the Schuylkill River. Philly?s skyline sparkles in the distance. You are but 1 of 400 canoeing spectators on stage for a guided history of the area. This is a performance journey in history along the Schuylkill River?just one of the many interactive theatrical events featuring song, dance, and vivid visualizations. The show comes to life thanks to the tireless work of Alie Vidich and her envelope-pushing dance company, The Brigade. Founded in 2009, The Brigade straddles the border between dance company, acting troupe, and interactive arts collective.
During each of its many weekly classes, The Handwork Studio's staff of teachers and professional artists give creative kids a fun, hands-on introduction to expressing themselves through machine sewing, fashion, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and needle felting. Workshops such as A Snip-It of Sewing, A Touch of Handwork, A Feel for Fashion, or A Pinch of Knitting Needle Fencing combine a smaller class size with a curriculum that accommodates children of all ages, except Faulknerian man-children with nonlinear senses of time. Petite purlers can also get a head-start on the holidays with a themed Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day workshop, which supply all the tools, materials, and instruction necessary to create handmade decorations, meet new friends, and build foolproof Cupid traps. All classes must be used within four months of the Groupon.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30?60 minutes
Pro Tip: Be prepared to remove your shoes. Visitors should wear or bring socks to tour the Japanese House.
Handicap Accessible: No
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Feeding the koi fish in the pond.
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
Visitors should be prepared to remove their shoes to enter the Japanese House. Bring or wear socks, or we can provide peds.
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Shofuso is the embodiment of friendship between Japan and Philadelphia from 1876 to present day.
What?s your favorite part of your job?
Maintaining the Japanese garden to the highest standards.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We have the third-ranked Japanese garden in North America, according to the Journal of Japanese Gardening.