Let Curiosity Set Sail at the Independence Seaport Museum

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program pilot a small submarine in a pool in the lobby of the Independence Seaport Museum

Did you know that during the 1940s, the Delaware River was so polluted, no organisms that relied on oxygen to survive could live in it? Or that Frederick Douglas escaped slavery by posing as a sailor? This was one of many surprising facts the students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program learned during a recent visit to the Independence Seaport Museum.

Founded in 1960 as the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, the Independence Seaport Museum seeks “to deepen the understanding, appreciation, and experience of the Philadelphia region’s waterways.” It carries out its mission through exhibits, interactive activities, and historic artifacts. Among the items in their diverse collection are tools, paper records, model ships, and two historic maritime vessels: the Cruiser Olympia and the submarine USS Becuna. Recently, the Karabots Junior Fellows visited the Seaport Museum to learn more about maritime history, ecology, and the unique impact Philadelphia’s waterways have influenced local, national, and international history.

Upon their arrival, the students broke into small groups and took part in a photo scavenger hunt designed to immerse them in the exhibits, activities, and artifacts the Seaport Museum has to offer. Among the museum’s offerings are Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River, a frank depiction of the African American experience in Philadelphia relative to shipping, sea travel, and manufacturing; a recreation of the bridge of a US Navy destroyer, numerous model ships (some of which were built by inmates at Eastern State Penitentiary), and a traditional boat shop where volunteers still practice boat building.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program play a search and rescue game at the Independence Seaport Museum

After exploring the site on their own, the students took part in Ecology of the Delaware, a hands-on lesson aimed at teaching environmental history and the important role the Delaware River plays in the daily lives of people living in the Delaware Valley. During the lesson, they conducted various tests on Delaware River water, including measuring depth, temperature, PH levels, and phosphate content.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program take part in the Ecology of the Delaware lesson at the Independence Seaport Museum

After our activities concluded, several opted to stay and explore the Cruiser Olympia and the submarine USS Becuna. Overall the experience gave our students a greater appreciation of the impact of Philadelphia’s waterways.

The Teva Interns Visit the African American Museum

Students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program pose in front of the African American Museum in Philadelphia on October 6, 2016

Last week, students in the Teva Pharmaceuticals Internship Program took a field trip to the African American Museum in Philadelphia (701 Arch Street). Founded in 1976, the African American Museum in Philadelphia is committed to celebrating the historical and cultural contributions of African Americans as well as serving as a forum for addressing issues related to social justice. Led by an experienced tour guide, the Interns explored Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876, the site’s permanent exhibition devoted to the stories and contributions of African Americans in the Quaker City during the the first century of the American republic.

Their visit coincided with the opening of the Museum’s new exhibitI Found God in Myself: The 40th Anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls…. The exhibition celebrates the 40th anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s performance piece for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf; the play is a series of interconnected poems of the struggles of African American women told by seven African American characters identified with one of seven colors. To commemorate the anniversary, the exhibition displays 20 art pieces of varying media.

A piece depicting a bathtub covered in buttons in the African American Museum in Philadelphia exhibit I Found God in Myself

We encourage you to visit the African American Museum and experience the exhibit for yourself. I Found God in Myself runs through January 2, 2017. For more information, check out the Museum’s homepage.