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Please Touch Museum (Philadelphia, PA 19131-3719)
Polly McKenna-Cress (Project Director: August 2018 to July 2019)
Charles McGhee Hassrick (Project Director: July 2019 to August 2019)
Charles McGhee Hassrick (Project Director: August 2019 to present)
Please Touch Museum's New Centennial Innovations Gallery

Implementation of a permanent exhibition that explores the 1876 Centennial Fair in Philadelphia.

Please Touch Museum (PTM)’s new Centennial Innovations (“CI”) gallery will highlight the 1876 Centennial Exposition (“the Fair”)’s human stories of discovery and innovation, and those of inequality and upheaval. Held to mark the 100th year of the nation’s founding, the Fair also marked the end of the Civil War and a pivotal moment of Reconstruction. High-tech inventions spurred some visitors to imagine a future of prosperity and wonder. Other attendees—including Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony—chafed against social barriers and hoped for a more just world. Today, PTM is housed in Memorial Hall, once at the center of the Fairgrounds. For CI, PTM will blend its holdings of Fair-related artifacts with physical interactives, imaginative role-play opportunities, digital learning experiences and powerful storytelling to provide children and families an engaging, accessible glimpse into the past and invite dialogue on the nature of invention and progress.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies

Exhibitions: Implementation

Public Programs

$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2022