Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum

Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum The Philadelphia Belmont Mansion is stewarded by the Americn Womens' Heritage Society (AWHS). The hi
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Experience 18th and 19th century history through the events and lives of people associated with Belmont Mansion in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, PA. Our house museum is dedicated to colonial history and the 19th century network of people and places known as the "underground railroad." Built in the early eighteenth century, the Mansion is one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in th

e United States. The Belmont Mansion property became part of Fairmount Park in 1869, and is now an underground railroad museum open to the public for tours. For venue availability: TEXT MESSAGE ONLY @ (267) 736-0007
*No pricing information via text
*For event proposals, email: [email protected]

🌟 Just think of all the hope and courage in this one place and freedom on their minds.  🌍The stories of resilience and u...
08/28/2023

🌟 Just think of all the hope and courage in this one place and freedom on their minds. 🌍The stories of resilience and unity must be told as part of the history that has shaped a movement that continues to transform a nation.

Sixty years later, we still honor the brave individuals who paved the way and together, we can continue their legacy! 💫

🎉 The fight continues. 🌈 🌟💖

Wishing everyone a safe, peaceful and joyful holiday season!
12/25/2022

Wishing everyone a safe, peaceful and joyful holiday season!

Why wait until Giving Tuesday to make a contribution to preserving our history? To donate now see the link in the bio.
11/28/2022

Why wait until Giving Tuesday to make a contribution to preserving our history? To donate now see the link in the bio.

HONORING OUR VETERANS! 🇺🇸Honoring our Veterans all the way back to the American  Revolutionary War when Belmont also kno...
11/11/2022

HONORING OUR VETERANS! 🇺🇸

Honoring our Veterans all the way back to the American Revolutionary War when Belmont also known as "The Crown Jewel of Fairmount Park" could have been lost but due to the bravery of the enlisted, she remains.

When Audrey Johnson-Thornton and the American Women's Heritage Society began their restoration of Belmont in 1986, that was the second time she was saved.

"During the American Revolution, William Peters’s son Richard joined forces with the rebel government and thus managed to hold onto Belmont. Other villa owners were not so lucky. The war effectively unseated Philadelphia’s merchant class, fragmenting it into different camps; some retained their wealth and much of their status, others lost everything. First the British took what they wanted, often destroying the properties of those who failed to side with the Crown. Once the Redcoats departed, other troubles lay in store for the wealthy."

Belmont Mansion Fairmount Park West, Philadelphia, PA Completed as a mansion in 1755 from the original cottage on the property, Belmont was the country seat of William Peters, an Englishman who practiced law in Philadelphia. He held various public offices on account of his connections with the Willi...

Have a listen to the GirlTrek: Healthy Black Women and Girls podcast to find out what happened on the Edmond Pettus Brid...
10/29/2022

Have a listen to the GirlTrek: Healthy Black Women and Girls podcast to find out what happened on the Edmond Pettus Bridge that day? Thank you for this bit of history that we never knew.

At GirlTrek these podcasts accompany “walking” because Harriett did it and it made many free. Walk and listen to these 21 history lessons that will surely push the envelope of your mind.


Listen to GirlTrek's Black History Bootcamp on Spotify.

Because one of our core missions is to support youth education, we are ecstatic to congratulate our partner Global Leade...
10/13/2022

Because one of our core missions is to support youth education, we are ecstatic to congratulate our partner Global Leadership Academy Charter School on 15 years of excellence as a K-8 educational institution. Together, we host a youth docent program that trains GLA students about Underground Railroad history and how to lead museum tours! Go Gators!

A Global Academies celebration at the Belmont Mansion:Global Leadership Academy Charter School - West turns 15Global Leadership Academy Charter School - SW t...

Long before Serena Williams there was Philadelphian Ora Washington.
10/13/2022

Long before Serena Williams there was Philadelphian Ora Washington.

Ora Washington was a dominant champion across two sports in an age where prejudice and ignorance denied her proper recognition.

Come Paddle on the Schuykill River and take a tour on the Underground Railroad. Pickup at the Belmont Mansion Undergroun...
08/12/2022

Come Paddle on the Schuykill River and take a tour on the Underground Railroad.

Pickup at the Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad to Falls River to paddling to Peters Island, the a tour of the Museum.

See more info and registration link in the bio.

Come paddle on the Schuykill with us and learn about the Underground Railroad passage that many took on their way to fre...
08/11/2022

Come paddle on the Schuykill with us and learn about the Underground Railroad passage that many took on their way to freedom in Philadelphia and at the Belmont Mansion. Register here: fb.me/e/3whZnB2uE

Congratulations  on your first Emmy Nomination from your proud Philly friends at the Belmont Mansion! ❤️
07/14/2022

Congratulations on your first Emmy Nomination from your proud Philly friends at the Belmont Mansion! ❤️

Hope you all are enjoying the Juneteenth and Father’s Day celebrations! Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow Monday Ju...
06/19/2022

Hope you all are enjoying the Juneteenth and Father’s Day celebrations! Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow Monday June 20 for the sign reveal and from 12-4 for a celebration on the hill overlooking the Belmont Plateau for the continuance at the Historic Belmont Mansion.

Today at 3pm on IG Live we’ll be celebrating Juneteenth and tomorrow’s Jubilee event and sign installment at the Belmont...
06/19/2022

Today at 3pm on IG Live we’ll be celebrating Juneteenth and tomorrow’s Jubilee event and sign installment at the Belmont Mansion with a conversation with about what Juneteenth means to our community and the need to control the narrative now that it is a federal holiday.
Register at the link in bio for Monday’s event at the Mansion.

Today at 3pm on IG Live we’ll be celebrating Juneteenth and tomorrow’s Jubilee event and sign installment at the Belmont...
06/19/2022

Today at 3pm on IG Live we’ll be celebrating Juneteenth and tomorrow’s Jubilee event and sign installment at the Belmont Mansion with a conversation with about what Juneteenth means to our community and the need to control the narrative now that it is a federal holiday.

10am on Juneteenth Monday.
06/17/2022

10am on Juneteenth Monday.

On June 20, 2022, The City of Philadelphia renamed Belmont Mansion Drive to Audrey Johnson Thornton Drive. WURD was first to break the exciting news. “The ...

On Monday we are celebrating   at Philadelphia’s Historic Belmont Mansion. First will be a pre-naming walk with  Philly ...
06/17/2022

On Monday we are celebrating at Philadelphia’s Historic Belmont Mansion.

First will be a pre-naming walk with Philly at 9:15am. Then the sign will be erected at 10am. Right after will be a Jubilee event at the Mansion.

blackgirlmagic

Thank you for honoring the work and legacy of

Another Philadelphia great gone. Our condolences to family and friends.
06/10/2022

Another Philadelphia great gone. Our condolences to family and friends.

Edie Huggins, a trailblazing reporter who became one of Philadelphia's most beloved broadcasters, died this morning after a lengthy illness.

Our condolences to the family of Trudy Haynes. Ms. Haynes was truly a great and a staunch supporter of the Belmont Mansi...
06/08/2022

Our condolences to the family of Trudy Haynes. Ms. Haynes was truly a great and a staunch supporter of the Belmont Mansion. We appreciate her contributions as a media leader and an AWHS trailblazing “Mover & Shaker.”

Juneteenth is the perfect time for the street sign to be installed. Join us as Belmont Mansion Drive becomes Audrey John...
05/29/2022

Juneteenth is the perfect time for the street sign to be installed. Join us as Belmont Mansion Drive becomes Audrey Johnson Thornton Way. Come walk the trail with us!

How Enslavement of African Americans was driven by Congress.
01/15/2022

How Enslavement of African Americans was driven by Congress.

The Washington Post has compiled the first database of slaveholding members of Congress by examining thousands of pages of census records and historical documents.

01/02/2022
Seasons Greetings from the Mansion - https://mailchi.mp/138b323b7d14/seasons-greetings-from-the-mansion
12/23/2021

Seasons Greetings from the Mansion - https://mailchi.mp/138b323b7d14/seasons-greetings-from-the-mansion

As we celebrate this season, we remember our ancestors who got us this far by faith. We appreciate all who have made it possible for the Philadelphia Underground Railroad Museum and Belmont Mansion to become the dreams of our ancestors. Your support has made it possible.  

It's Never Too Late to Give! - https://mailchi.mp/472fb91e91a8/its-never-too-late-to-give-belmont-mansion
12/02/2021

It's Never Too Late to Give! - https://mailchi.mp/472fb91e91a8/its-never-too-late-to-give-belmont-mansion

The smallest amount makes a difference! If for any reason the above link does not work you can DONATE on our website here.  Thank you for making history with your support of Belmont Mansion and please tell your family and friends. The American Women's Heritage Society

There is still time to give for Giving Tuesday (and a new link). - https://mailchi.mp/0f1986269045/giving-tuesday-is-her...
12/01/2021

There is still time to give for Giving Tuesday (and a new link). - https://mailchi.mp/0f1986269045/giving-tuesday-is-here-10700077

Make Your Gift Here! Every amount matters! If for any reason the above link does not work you can DONATE on our website here.  Thank you for making history with your support of Belmont Mansion and please tell your family and friends. The American Women's Heritage Society

Giving Tuesday is Here! - https://mailchi.mp/04e3e9757e81/giving-tuesday-is-here
11/30/2021

Giving Tuesday is Here! - https://mailchi.mp/04e3e9757e81/giving-tuesday-is-here

Gifts of every size help to advance history and Make Your Gift Today! Thank you for making history with your support of Belmont Mansion and please tell your family and friends. The American Women's Heritage Society

Giving Tuesday 2021 - https://mailchi.mp/1fb891ed2a8d/giving-tuesday-2021
11/30/2021

Giving Tuesday 2021 - https://mailchi.mp/1fb891ed2a8d/giving-tuesday-2021

For over 40 years, the American Women's Heritage Society has worked tirelessly to preserve and maintain the stories rarely told and showcased as part of the history of the Underground Railroad. Like Cornelia Wells, who through her culinary skills worked at Belmont to eventually buy her own freedom...

Tomorrow 11/30/21 is Giving Tuesday! There is no time like the present (see that there) to give generously to the worthi...
11/30/2021

Tomorrow 11/30/21 is Giving Tuesday! There is no time like the present (see that there) to give generously to the worthiest cause of keeping Black HIstory alive by telling stories of how we got over into the Underground Railroad and the intricate connections that made it possible.

Your generous support allows us to maintain operations for the education of African-American history which is American history.

Donate here: https://tinyurl.com/yc35b4df

Thank you for your support!

What was stolen is now returned.
10/02/2021

What was stolen is now returned.

Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the legislation will start the transfer ownership of Bruce's Beach back to the family.

We appreciate the creative and artistic service of Jeanyne James for these 20 plus years to preserve and enhance African...
09/26/2021

We appreciate the creative and artistic service of Jeanyne James for these 20 plus years to preserve and enhance African American History of the Underground Railroad at Belmont Mansion.

A local volunteer tour guide and historian at the Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion hopes to help visitors understand the building's historical significance.

In our 30 plus years overlooking our great city above the Kelly Drive, we have never seen it like this. Thank you to tho...
09/02/2021

In our 30 plus years overlooking our great city above the Kelly Drive, we have never seen it like this. Thank you to those cleaning up the damage today and prayers for those who were impacted. 🙏🏽

Sometimes it's the need for space. We can address that too
08/24/2021

Sometimes it's the need for space. We can address that too

Great example for us all Naomi Osaka 大坂なおみ 🇭🇹
08/16/2021

Great example for us all Naomi Osaka 大坂なおみ 🇭🇹

"I'm about to play a tournament this week and I'll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti," Osaka wrote in tweet Saturday.

"We are not makers of history, we are made by history."- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Underground Railroad Freedo...
08/16/2021

"We are not makers of history, we are made by history."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Operation Underground Railroad

Here is the truth behind systemic racism

In 1866, one year after the 13th Amendment was ratified (the amendment that ended slavery), Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina began to lease out convicts for labor (peonage). This made the business of arresting Blacks very lucrative, which is why hundreds of White men were hired by these states as police officers. Their primary responsibility was to search out and arrest Blacks who were in violation of Black Codes. Once arrested, these men, women and children would be leased to plantations where they would harvest cotton, to***co, sugar cane. Or they would be leased to work at coal mines, or railroad companies. The owners of these businesses would pay the state for every prisoner who worked for them; prison labor.

It is believed that after the passing of the 13th Amendment, more than 800,000 Blacks were part of the system of peonage, or re-enslavement through the prison system. Peonage didn’t end until after World War II began, around 1940.

This is how it happened.

The 13th Amendment declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." (Ratified in 1865)

Did you catch that? It says, “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude could occur except as a punishment for a crime". Lawmakers used this phrase to make petty offenses crimes. When Blacks were found guilty of committing these crimes, they were imprisoned and then leased out to the same businesses that lost slaves after the passing of the 13th Amendment. This system of convict labor is called peonage.

The majority of White Southern farmers and business owners hated the 13th Amendment because it took away slave labor. As a way to appease them, the federal government turned a blind eye when southern states used this clause in the 13th Amendment to establish laws called Black Codes. Here are some examples of Black Codes:

In Louisiana, it was illegal for a Black man to preach to Black congregations without special permission in writing from the president of the police. If caught, he could be arrested and fined. If he could not pay the fines, which were unbelievably high, he would be forced to work for an individual, or go to jail or prison where he would work until his debt was paid off.

If a Black person did not have a job, he or she could be arrested and imprisoned on the charge of vagrancy or loitering.

This next Black Code will make you cringe. In South Carolina, if the parent of a Black child was considered vagrant, the judicial system allowed the police and/or other government agencies to “apprentice” the child to an "employer". Males could be held until the age of 21, and females could be held until they were 18. Their owner had the legal right to inflict punishment on the child for disobedience, and to recapture them if they ran away.

This (peonage) is an example of systemic racism - Racism established and perpetuated by government systems. Slavery was made legal by the U.S. Government. Segregation, Black Codes, Jim Crow and peonage were all made legal by the government, and upheld by the judicial system. These acts of racism were built into the system, which is where the term “Systemic Racism” is derived.

This is the part of "Black History" that most of us were never told about.

Another event planned and guest ready. How can we help your vision come to life?
08/07/2021

Another event planned and guest ready. How can we help your vision come to life?

It's still the best view of Philadelphia. Then and now. Title: W. Park Belmont MansionAdditional Title: Belmont MansionM...
08/03/2021

It's still the best view of Philadelphia. Then and now.

Title: W. Park Belmont Mansion
Additional Title: Belmont Mansion
Media Type: Watercolors (Paintings)
Source: Print and Picture Collection
Creation Year: 1854
Creator Name: Kollner, Augustus, 1813-1906 - Artist

07/31/2021

Address

2000 Belmont Mansion Drive
Philadelphia, PA
19131

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11am - 4pm
Wednesday 11am - 4pm
Thursday 11am - 4pm

Telephone

+12158788844

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Back to the Belmont Celebration on June 20th. Did you know the Belmont Mansion was a part of the Underground Railroad. If you can, please attend this event from our partner the Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum.
Please enjoy & share this link to my photos of the Christiana Historical Society 170th Anniversary at Historic Zercher's Hotel Underground Railroad Center. Location: Christiana, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Just click on the photo below to be directed to the whole set of photos.

Calling all history lovers…Take a step back in time in one of Philadelphia’s historic mansions. The Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum, The Rosenbach, Cliveden, Stenton, and Woodford Mansion doors are all open to you in our Gear Up for Winter Auction running from Nov 13 – Nov 19th!
🔴 WATCH: Join West Philadelphia native, Chill Moody, as he takes us to the sacred grounds of the Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum for a music performance from Voices of Hope: A Black History Month Celebration presented by The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

📍 Did you know? ... The Belmont Mansion was Pennsylvania's first stop on the Underground Railroad. Today, the Philadelphia Belmont Mansion is stewarded by the American Women's Heritage Society.

🎶 SET LIST
⓵ "Cafe Breezes" Produced by Hank McCoy & Eugene "ManMan" Roberts
⓶ "Smile More" Produced by Ben Thomas
⓷ "Smile More Remix" Produced by Hank McCoy
⓸ "The Fight is On" featuring Balmour, produced by Ben Thomas
⓹ "More than a Month" produced by Eugene "ManMan" Roberts

Philly Live Weekends is proudly presented by Herr's, Philly's favorite chip.
🔴 TUNE IN: Join West Philadelphia native, Chill Moody, as he takes us to the sacred grounds of the Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum for a musical performance from Voices of Hope: A Black History Month Celebration presented by The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

Philly Live Weekends is proudly presented by Herr's, Philly's favorite chip.
Attention Philadelphia residents: Tune in to Creative Philadelphia's brand new Arts Access TV at 7 PM tonight to catch our performance at Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum. Available on channel 64 (Comcast) and channel 40 (Verizon). Details: bit.ly/3jXHmr9
To continue our Underground-Railroad-and-Philadelphia thread: Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum, one of the sites featured in the VisitPhilly guide, will offer a lunchtime tour on Thursday 2/25 at 12 PM. Reenactors representing historical figures associated with Belmont Mansion will be part of this free online event. Register at the link provided.


https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EP13eGolSfShnYYe2DffQg?mc_cid=bfec0067f8&mc_eid=7a923818cd
ANNOUNCING 🎺 Our City, Your Orchestra: a series of ensemble performances captured at iconic cultural locations and Black-owned businesses throughout Philadelphia! Tune in to the first FREE performance at the Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum, available beginning at 7 PM on October 12. Learn more: www.philorch.org/our-city-your-orchestra
Belmont Mansion and Underground Railroad Museum | Not Just Black History, But American History | Philadelphia Legacy Media

Sharing Stories That Matter: A Black Museum Preserves a Legacy of Freedom
www.philadelphialegacymedia.org

Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum (Philadelphia) was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, June 26, 1956. The site continued to be used for public entertaining until it became a historic house museum under the management of the American Women’s Heritage Society (AWHS), founded by the late Audrey R. Johnson-Thornton in 1986.

Most Philadelphia residents are very familiar with the Belmont Plateau, which has been paid homage to lyrically by hometown icon, Will Smith. However, when you hear the phrase, “meet me at The Belmont,” of course, they are referencing the historic Belmont Mansion URM, known as the “Crown Jewel of Fairmount Park (Philadelphia).” Many of The Divine 9 organizations are either members of the Belmont Mansion or have hosted their meetings or soirees at the site. The Belmont Mansion has been recognized as a beautiful venue that has hosted parties, weddings with a covered gazebo on the grounds, political candidate forums, DJ Long John & Gary O Odom's Black & White Party, and the Inaugural Legends Business Gala hosted by The Mentor Mogul herself, Tanya T. Morris.

As we reflect on the foresight of Tanya T. Morris, to host an event at the Belmont Mansion last year that honored women entrepreneurs, little did we know that the Underground Railroad Museum’s history tour prominently features the legacy of Cornelia Wells. Cornelia was a shrewd businesswoman and entrepreneur, who earned her freedom from slavery from Judge Richard Peters about two-hundred years ago, while working at the Belmont Mansion. This Black museum highlights the spirit of Cornelia Wells, who exemplified that she did not only leave a legacy of freedom to her daughter, but also to future businesswomen for generations to follow. Cornelia settled in a cottage by the river that is still located in Fairmount Park and it is called The Boelson Cottage. If you were to trace Cornelia’s steps today from the Belmont Mansion to her Boelson Cottage residence, it would be about a 20-minute walk, nestled adjacent to the Belmont Stables/Bill Pickett Riding Academy.

The URM, currently under the leadership of Director/Curator, Janice Sykes-Ross, creatively through oral history and video presentation educates the museum’s visitors, supporters, patrons, and members, about the rich heritage of the Underground Railroad, the Peters’ family and how they intentionally offered their Belmont Mansion estate as a major stop on the Underground Railroad in the Philadelphia region. In the motion picture Harriet, the abolition of William Still is revealed. The life of William Still, a black freed man, who frequented the Belmont Mansion, is depicted as one of the conductors of the Underground Railroad in the museum tour by the knowledgeable griots and youth docents. As a part of the URM’s programming, during this past Black History Month 2020, the museum partnered with other local Black museums. The URM presented an interactive historical tour, from Africa to Slavery to Freedom, in collaboration with G. S. Enterprises Nubian World Performances and Lest We Forget Slavery Museum. Consequently, during the celebration of the AWHS 35th Anniversary Gala hosted at the Belmont Mansion last year, Curator Janice Sykes-Ross summed up the URM’s vision succinctly, when she told the supporters, “we are not just a party or a great view on the hill, we are a museum that tells our story and tells our history.”

In addition, the URM has hosted many college tours, and sometimes they have not been scheduled. In December of 2019, traveled from Bowling Green, OH by chartered bus to Philadelphia to perform, serve and bond throughout the city on their holiday break. After they arrived in the city, one of the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) group leaders googled the Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum and late that Saturday afternoon, this group of about fifty choir members descended upon the grounds unexpectedly. Although, the visit was unscheduled, these college students were greeted warmly by the URM staff, who accommodated their request to tour the museum. This BGSU chorus of primarily African American students were in awe of the cultural history lesson shared from the video presentation, narrated by Alfre Woodard, the oral history facilitated inside the museum by the URM staff, the period clothing, artifacts, and detailed interior architecture preserved for several centuries. Yes, they took plenty of selfies and group photos of the Philadelphia skyline from the grounds as a memento.

Philadelphia Legacy Media was honored to interview the late Audrey R. Johnson-Thornton in November of 2018, a few months before she transitioned. During that interview, we were surprised with a visit from some of Mrs. Audrey’s family that traveled to visit her for the Thanksgiving holiday and were able to interview four generations of strong Black women that embodied the spirit of Cornelia Wells: Mrs. Audrey; her daughter, Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker; and Mrs. Audrey’s daughter, Linda Thomas, and Linda’s daughter, Nicole and granddaughter, Hampton. Mrs. Audrey, AWHS founder, curator, and civil rights leader was not only the driving force to complete the renovation of the Belmont Mansion, but also led many black women’s service organizations throughout her life.

Please like/follow Philadelphia Legacy Media on Facebook and follow us on Instagram/Twitter.



Rebecca Johnson Michael Coard Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse Earl Harvey Curtis Jones Jr Senator Vincent Hughes Vincent L. Johnson Vincent Thompson Cherri Gregg Philly Discover Philadelphia Gregory DeShields PABJ Herb Lusk Rev Dr Alyn E Waller, Senior Pastor, Shani Newton Mike Major SCOOP USA
(video courtesy of Mark Allen and the Belmont Mansion)
Thank you Fairmount Park Conservancy for compiling this list of ways to commemorate in Philly's parks, including events with Spirits Up Hike & Heal North Philly Peace Park. The article also includes a link to a story by WHYY on the Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum and histories of the builders of historic houses, who included abolitionists (Historic Strawberry Mansion) and those who enslaved people on their estates. For more on this holiday and its history, we also recommend reading a post by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr -- it was originally shared on The Root and can also be found on PBS.
This place has a magnificent and rich history. There should be a play dramatizing its stories!
Anyone remember this one...?
Hi! I am trying to reach the museum to set up an appointment for a Saturday and although I call during the week, the number is disconnected. If someone could please get in touch with me or tell me how to reach the business, I would appreciate it. I have both called and emailed multiple times.