An Exploration of Interpretive Approaches to the Arch Street Meeting House

Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust



The historic worship space known as the West Room is little changed after more than two centuries of continuous use. Photo by Brian Kutner.


Most meetinghouses are ¼ of the size of the Arch Street Meeting House, which is so large because it was constructed to hold an annual meeting of Quakers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware. Photo by Brian Kutner.


This funerary sled was used during the 18th and 19th centuries to move the deceased from a holding area to the burial site. Photo by Brian Kutner.


The Arch Street Meeting House was built in 1804 and its architecture reflects the Quaker principles of simplicity and equality. Photo by Brian Kutner.

Through a series of pilot projects based on research and assessment, Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust will evaluate which interpretive stories, themes, and methods most successfully engage today's audiences with the Arch Street Meeting House and will offer participants a unique opportunity to learn about Quaker history. A National Historic Landmark and Philadelphia's first burial ground, the Arch Street Meeting House has never before undertaken assessment by non-Quaker professionals. With this project, the organization will enhance public understanding of Quaker values and contributions to society and connect those values to contemporary issues, inspiring audiences to take action in their own lives. From sharing the stories of those buried on the grounds to opening new exhibits that engage current issues in social justice and the environment, this project will encourage visitors to both learn about and experience Quaker culture.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.