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Flag-waving Philly: with patriotism running high, the City of Brotherly Love plans a star-spangled year to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

The City of Brotherly Love celebrates freedom of expression this year with special events and exhibits in honor of the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and the most comprehensive protection of individual freedom ever written. It guarantees freedom of religion, speech, the press, the right of assembly, and other basuc liberties we take for granted.

The 55 delegates from 12 states who met in Philadelphia 200 years ago weren't sure of the need for a Bill of Rights in the federal Constitution because most states had their own. But when the Constitution went to the states for ratification, popular demand for more individual liberties was so great that the Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution in 1971.

Pennsylvania can't display its copy of the Bill of Rights because somehow inexplicably in the last 200 years the state lost its single-page parchment, 28-1\2 inches by 28 1\4 inches, inscribed by hand with a quill pen and signed by Vice President John Adams, which President Washington dispatched October 4, 1790, to Pennsylvania for ratification.

One of the most important and valuable documents in American history is now missing. However, Pennsylvania did retain its original copy of its response to the request to vote on the Bill of Rights. So visitors can instead see this document, along with an original copy of the Bill of Rights from Delaware, at Old City Hall in Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, called "America's most historic square mile." Two Continental Congresses, the Constitutional Convention, and the First Congress of the United States of America all met here, and the Declaration of Independence was drafted, signed, and proclaimed here.

Also at the Independence National Historical Park is the Promise of Permanency, a state-of-the-art interactive computer exhibit examining Bill of Rights issues and constitutional milestones. This five-year exhibit runs through 1992.

America's first zoo, the 42-acre, 117-year-old Philadelphia Zoo tucked into West Fairmount Park, celebrates Freedom if Expression Weekend April 27-28. This participatory festival is a tribute to the First Amendment and invites children to build a flag sculpture, paint a Freedom of Expression mural, and hop on a soapbox to tell it as it is for youngsters.

Other activities include poetry at the Reptile House, a cartoon exhibit at the Rare Animal House, demonstrations of animal expressions at the Children's Zoo, music, face painting, postcard making, and a Thomas Jefferson puppet show. Kids can talk to costumed Bill of Rights framers who will be wandering around.

Zoo president Bill Donaldson, who kept a 300-animal menagerie in his backyard while he was growing up, has bettered the zoo considerably since its run-down days in the 1970s. Today it is home to 1,700 birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians from around the world. The new oneacre primate exhibit allows gorillas, gibbons, orangutans, mandrills, and ring-tailed lemurs to live outside on four naturally planted islands. Visitors are separated from the animals only by moats so they can see the families of animals interacting with each other as they would in the wild.

The spectacular educational children's exhibit, The Treehouse, explores six larger-than-life simulated habitats. Here kids climb a giant beehive, hatch from an egg, ride a prehistoric dinosaur, emerge from a cocoon, crawl through an oversized honeycomb, investigate life inside a blossom, and climb through a four story ficus tree.

In the Jungle Bird Walk visitors walk among free-flying birds and 100 imported plant species. In the two acre Children's Zoo kids pet and feed baby zoo and farm animals, ride ponies, and watch sea lions swim for their fish dinners during feeding demonstrations. The roofed, open-sided cars of the Safari Monorail offer a 20-minute ride with recorded commentary and sound effects and a different visual perspective of the zoological garden complex.

"A Thomas Jefferson" look-alike occasionally hands out free souvenir nickels on information cards at the world's largest mint, which covers three city blocks. The U.S. Mint turns out 1.6 million coins every hour. On a self-guided walk that winds around the gallery over-looking the work areas, you can watch the coinage process, which involves melting raw material, rolling it to coin thinness, punching out blanks from these sheets, and pressing designs on them. After the coins are finished, a counting machine automatically sews lots of 5,000 into bags. No samples are given during this factory tour, unfortunately.

Themed exhibits, activities, plays, and a multicultural summer festival for kids honor the Bill of Rights at the Please Touch Museum. The only U.S. museum designed specifically for children seven and younger, it features educational programming on the arts, sciences, and humanities. Here children can look, crawl, climb, explore, discover, pretend, imagine, remember, reflect, and talk.

In the Health Care Centers children can be nurses, doctors, or patients. The fully stocked shelves in the Corner Store let kids play clerk and customer, weighing produce and ringing up merchandise at the cash register. Children can watch and pet small animals at the Nature Center. The theater features mime, storytelling, puppetry, dance, music, and films.

Also, the museum is displaying a nine-foot Liberty Bell model made from Legos.

A New Jersey social worker at the museum with her four-year-old daughter said, "This museum lets children tap into their imaginations, allowing them to participate in activities they wouldn't normally be allowed to experience. I always have fun when they do. I like touching things, too."

The Franklin Institute Science Museum's new Musser Choices Forum is a hightech auditorium equipped with individual computer keypads for voting, and it also features freedom of expressions issues related to science.

The Franklin Institute is the country's first hands-on science center. Its exhibits cover energy, motion, sound, physics, astronomy, aviation, ships, mechanics, electricity, and time.

Here visitors can trace the route of a corpuscle as they walk through an artificial heart, 15,000 times life-size, listening to heartbeats and explanations: ride eight feet forward and backward on a 350-ton, 101-foot long Baldwin steam locomotive; and sit in the cockpit of a T-33 airplane. In the energy hall a toddler can move a 500-pound block with pulleys. The Discovery Theater features liquid air.

The museum's newest section is the $72 million Futures Center, eight permanent exhibits examining the science and technology that are shaping the 21st century: FutureVision, Future-Computers, FutureEarth, FutureHealth, FutureEnergy, FutureMaterials, FutureSpace, and The Future and You.

In FutureHealth a computer camera will age you 25 years, and you can watch a video of a total hip replacement operation on a 73-year-old woman who suffered from osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). An electric knife makes the incision. Watch a Futures Center staff member demonstrate the principles of a laser scalpel by cutting up fruit in the Cutting Edge Gallery. Visitors also can see a 30-foot by 30-foot human cell enlarged one million times, pulsing with the sounds and sights of micro-life.

The largest exhibit in the Futures Center, FutureSpace, lets you climb aboard, explore, and feel what it might be like to live and work in a space vehicle. The future and You shows a creative solution to overcrowding, Alice City, an underground city the Japanese say will support 100,000 people 500 feet below the ground.

Until July M, the Franklin Institute is showing "Blue Planet," a portrait of our planet on its Ommiverse Theater's four-story-tall domed screen. The scenes, many of which were recorded by space shuttle astronauts 330 miles above Earth, are sharper, larger, and more lifelike than anything you've seen in a commercial theater. When the IMAX cameras come down to earth, you experience Hurricane Hugo through the 56 speakers so realistically you'll wish you had your galoshes. The best seats are those just above the projector.

Beginning in September, Philadelphia celebrates the work of realist painter Thomas Eakins, a Philadelphia-born champion of artistic freedom and one of America's most respected artists. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts will exhibit around 200 of his sketches, manuscripts, drawings, and sculptures, many never shown before. The exhibition will trace his development as an artist and examine his life at home among family and friends, as a student and teacher at this institution, and at work in his studio. In the hands-on display areas, visitors will learn the artistic principles that he taught while director of the academy's school.

Eakins introduced innovative teaching methods. Anatomy courses became technical and detailed. Students dissected human and animal cadavers and analyzed photographs of the human form in action. Eakins' insistence on these practices, among other habits, led to his firing from the academy. Later, the administration recognized his importance to American art and awarded him a gold medal. With characteristic irreverance, he bicycled to the U.S. Mint and exchanged the medal for its cash value.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes travel guide; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Author:Crowley, Carolyn Hughes
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:May 1, 1991
Words:1466
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