June 24, 2024 5:00pm 8:00pm
Declaration House Block Party
Monument Lab at Independence National Historical Park
7th Street Between Market and Chestnut Streets

Join Monument Lab at our newest public art and history exhibition, Declaration House at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, opening on Monday, June 24. The exhibition explores the site where Thomas Jefferson and Robert Hemmings spent several months in Philadelphia during the summer of 1776 during the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. The project poses a central question: What does the Declaration of Independence mean to us today? By moving Hemmings to the center of this moment in history, the project seeks to illuminate the entangled legacies of freedom and enslavement at the core of our nation’s founding. 

Located a block away from Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Declaration House presents the exclusive premiere of Sonya Clark’s “The Descendants of Monticello,” a public artwork that brings the historic house to life through a monumental montage featuring the blinking eyes of Robert Hemmings’ collateral descendants and others who are related to the over 400 people enslaved at Monticello, including descendants biologically related to Jefferson. Declaration House also includes public programs throughout the summer with creative residents Jeannine A. Cook, Ty “Dancing Wolf” Ellis, and Amber Wiley. We invite you to join us for the opening Declaration House Block Party on Monday, June 24 from 5-8pm. Organized by Senior Curator Yolanda Wisher, the Block Party will include performances and speakers, as well as food and refreshments. Programmatic partners include the African-American Museum in Philadelphia, Independence Historical Trust, Mural Arts Philadelphia, PhillyCAM, WHYY, and more. The Declaration House Opening Block Party is a part of Wawa Welcome America. 

The event is free and open to the public.

Major support for Declaration House has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from VIA Art Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Lead project partners include Independence National Historical Park and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s Monticello and its Getting Word African American Oral History Project. The Declaration House Opening Block Party is a part of Wawa Welcome America.

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