APS buildings are open to staff and invited visitors. The Library is under renovation until early 2022. We are doing a major upgrade to our technological infrastructure, making some digital collections and services unavailable. If you need immediate assistance with collections, please contact reference@amphilsoc.org.

Meanings of Independence


Monday, October 18 - Friday, October 22, 2021

Free and open to the public

Please RSVP to attend.

Virtual sessions will be held via Zoom on October 18, 19, and 20 from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET.

Sessions scheduled for October 21 - 22 will be held in-person at:

Benjamin Franklin Hall

427 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106


As the country moves closer to the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the Society, through its new David Center for the American Revolution, is holding a conference on October 18-22 on the “Meanings of Independence.” The conference aims to be unlike a traditional scholarly conference. Instead of scholars presenting scholarly papers to a scholarly audience, we hope to bring together public intellectuals, scholars, leaders of cultural organizations and government agencies, and other thought leaders who have an interest in the Revolution and its commemoration in 2026. We plan to draw a large in-person and online audience that represents this cross-section of individuals along with members of the public and educators. Our hope is that by bringing this diverse group of people together, attendees may be able to network with others and perhaps lay the foundation for collaborations that will bear fruit in 2026.

This hybrid event will take place both in-person and online, and will begin with a series of virtual panels held on October 18-20 from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET.

The conference will continue in-person on October 21 and 22 at the Society in Philadelphia. This part of the conference will begin with a 6:00pm ET keynote event on “The Meanings of Independence” featuring Scott Stephenson (President and CEO, Museum of the American Revolution), Anthea Hartig (Elizabeth MacMillan Director, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution), Christy Coleman (Executive Director, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation) and moderated by Patrick Spero (Librarian & Director, Library & Museum of the American Philosophical Society). A full day of in-person discussions will take place on October 22. 

The symposium is free and open to all, but registration is required to attend. Links for virtual sessions will be sent separately via Zoom. All in-person sessions will be livestreamed. To view the full schedule, please visit the conference website.

NOTE: In-person program attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours and wear a mask while inside Benjamin Franklin Hall. With limited space for social distancing, requiring proof of vaccination is the best way to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff. Full details are listed on our website.