Current Exhibits

Patriots & Pirates

Discover the city of Philadelphia’s connection to the founding of the United States Navy. The permanent exhibition features curated objects never, or rarely, seen by the public—highlighting the little-told story of America’s conflict with pirates. At the center of Patriots & Pirates is a full-size waterline model of Diligence of 1797. Climb aboard Schooner Diligence, a stationary 102 foot vessel with masts soaring above a 62 foot deck, constructed by staff and volunteers from Workshop on the Watera traditional boat shop located inside the Museum. Patriots & Pirates is a unique exhibition developed by Chief Curator Craig Bruns.


Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River

Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River features recently uncovered artifacts from the Museum's collection, gripping first-person accounts and interactive elements, providing visitors with opportunities for discovery and communication. Using four key moments in Philadelphia's history representing the themes of Enslavement, Emancipation, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, Tides of Freedom urges visitors both to bear witness to a story central to Philadelphia and American history, and to think about the meaning of "freedom" both historically and in today's world. 


World War I: USS Olympia

Though most famous as Commodore Dewey's flagship in the Spanish-American War, Cruiser Olympia served military and humanitarian roles in the U.S. Navy into the 1920s. Explore Cruiser Olympia's contributions in four chapters in World War I: USS Olympia, a semi-permanent exhibit at Independence Seaport Museum. The exhibit features rare historical mementos from several of Olympia's crewmembers, highlighting their experiences and reactions to the war including photographs, an engraved trombone, a diary, and a single dried flower from the solemn transport of the Unknown Soldier home to America in 1921. 


Rescues on the River

Explore the disasters that unfolded as the Delaware developed into a watery highway for trade and commerce while experiencing the misfortunes, the miracles and the lessons learned. Rescues on the River will also introduce historical prints and newspaper headlines that were used to broadcast and memorize these terrible marine catastrophes. Visitors to the exhibition can also take home a free 20-page tabloid keepsake, produced in partnership with the Philadelphia Weekly, which includes illustrations and more details about some of the events featured in the exhibition.  


Navigation

Visit the Independence Seaport Museum to see our objects documenting the critical role of navigation technology to maritime history. Our collection includes sextants, compasses, maps, and numerous other navigation objects from the colonial era to the present. See how these objects made it easier to traverse the often difficult Delaware River.