Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend in Philadelphia

The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

During The African American Museum in Philadelphia’s annual MLK Weekend Celebration, residents and visitors can enjoy a special film screening, a jazz presentation with vocalist and composer Ruth Naomi Floyd, a scavenger hunt, a keynote conversation between journalists Stephanie Renee and Alejandro “Ali” Danois, access to the museum’s current special exhibit, Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past, and more. Bonus: The museum offers $2 admission from Saturday through Monday.


Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue

Eastern State Penitentiary honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day with readings of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” three times a day (11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) from January 19 to 21. An informal question-and-answer session moderated by a civil rights scholar follows each reading, and on Monday, January 21, children ages 7 to 12 can create artwork in response to the letter. All activities are free; general admission costs still apply for tours of the penitentiary.


Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street

The Museum of the American Revolution rolls out engaging special programming to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. over the long weekend. On Saturday, January 19, the Philadelphia Jazz Project presents We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration. Through spoken word, singing and instrumental music, the program pays tribute using King’s speeches and sermons. Throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy free talks in the museum’s core galleries to learn about the roles of African-Americans in the Revolutionary War.


Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

A collection of gospels and jazz spirituals curated by acclaimed producer and musical director Damien Sneed helps tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement in this likely-to-sell-out performance in Longwood Gardens‘ Exhibition Hall. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., We Shall Overcomeweaves parts of the activist’s recorded speeches into the program, which showcases works from artists like Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Duke Ellington and many more.


Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic
Complementing the hands-on learning environment at the Please Touch Museum, the museum features a day-long celebration with interactive events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Visitors can sit in on a storytelling session inspired by King’s legacy, engage in multiple crafting activities and join a musical parade promoting peace around the world. All activities are free with admission.