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.