Cliveden of the National Trust

1 Dec 2016


Audiences take in Liberty To Go To See, 2015, at Cliveden’s Main House, an interactive dramatic event based on the Chew Family Papers, produced by the New Freedom Theatre and featuring a script created through a year-long partnership between Cliveden and the Philadelphia Young Playwrights.


The main building at Cliveden, constructed 1763–67. Courtesy of Cliveden.


Cliveden’s historic 1959 kitchen. Photo courtesy of Cliveden of the National Trust.

Cliveden of the National Trust is an eighteenth-century historic house and the site of the 1777 Battle of Germantown. Cliveden's site includes two historic properties on over five acres of green space in Philadelphia's Historic Germantown. A National Historic Landmark, Cliveden was the summer home of prominent Colonial attorney Benjamin Chew. Following the discovery of records describing the Chew family's slaveholding, Cliveden began a process of reinterpretation that considers the relationship between wealth, privilege, and slavery in early American culture. Center support for Cliveden has included a 2009 Project grant for an adaptive reuse of Upsala, a historic home on the Cliveden site; a reinterpretation of the site based on extensive evidence of the Chew family's slaveholding; and a historical interpretation project to compare domestic life in two centuries through the exploration of the site's 1767 and 1959 kitchens. In 2019, Cliveden received a Discovery grant to explore community responses to its interpretation of Revolutionary-era history in the context of modern-day gun violence. In 2021, Cliveden received a collaborative Re:imagining Recovery grant, along with Stenton and Historic Germanton, to consider how an 18-member consortium of historic sites in Northwest Philadelphia can leverage shared resources to strengthen community relationships.