Arch Street Meeting House has reimagined the annual William Penn Lecture! The inaugural Annual Spring Kickoff will happen Thursday, March 23, 2023, from 5-7pm. The evening will include a cocktail hour and will be followed by a presentation by John Dickinson, portrayed by Doug Thomas. Join the “Penman of the Revolution” as he discusses his role in the journey that took us from colonies to country. In anticipation of this event, we interviewed Sean Connolly, Executive Director of Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust, to learn more about this exciting new take on a beloved event. [Read more…] about About the Annual Spring Kickoff: An Interview with Sean Connolly
Arch Street Meeting House
How We Gather: Hybrid, Virtual, or In-Person?
We are again in a time of shift.
This time, we are asking how, when, and why our gatherings are hybrid, virtual, or in-person. We have much to learn about the needs in our community and we hope Friends will unite in seeing this as a time of experimentation and learning. At this year’s Spring Continuing Sessions, the morning Meeting for Business will be hybrid (more details below) and our regional afternoon program will be in-person only.
[Read more…] about How We Gather: Hybrid, Virtual, or In-Person?
Arch Street Meeting House Installs Brand New Outdoor Exhibits
Arch Street Meeting House has just installed brand new outside exhibits. This exciting addition will elevate the meetinghouse to one of the must-see historic sites in Old City Philadelphia and will attract thousands of visitors to the historic property to learn about Quakerism for years to come. On Friday, May 27th, from 5-8, regional Quakers, history enthusiasts and supporters of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust will celebrate this milestone with a celebration and exhibit unveiling. [Read more…] about Arch Street Meeting House Installs Brand New Outdoor Exhibits
Events to Look Forward to at Arch Street Meeting House
Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust (ASMH) continues to build a sense of joy and connection in the iconic 200+ year-old Old City meetinghouse by offering fresh events that explain Quaker history and attract new visitors in engaging ways.
After hosting a successful Meetinghouse by Candlelight fundraising event last weekend, followed by the Tempesta di Mare Baroque Orchestra, several more rich and exciting events are coming in the next two weeks. [Read more…] about Events to Look Forward to at Arch Street Meeting House
Designing the Next Arch Street Meeting House Exhibit
On Friday August 13th Arch Street Meetinghouse Preservation Trust (ASMHT) is organizing a one-day event, from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, for Friends and the ‘Quaker unaware’ to visit and test out sample exhibit ideas. PYM Friends will help them understand how the exhibits are experienced, and people who are not familiar with the Quaker faith will help them become more aware of Quaker jargon to avoid in the new displays. [Read more…] about Designing the Next Arch Street Meeting House Exhibit
Part II: Interview with Sean Connolly, Executive Director of Arch Street Meeting House
This is the second part of our interview with Arch Street Meetinghouse‘s Executive Director, Sean Connolly. The first interview was published two weeks ago. The current story deals with the Historic Arch Street Meetinghouse’s planning for a new outdoor interpretive exhibit. [Read more…] about Part II: Interview with Sean Connolly, Executive Director of Arch Street Meeting House
Interview with Sean Connolly, Executive Director of Arch Street Meeting House
Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust preserves, operates and interprets the meetinghouse and grounds which will serve to increase public understanding of the impact and continued relevance of Quakers and Quaker history. Executive Director, Sean Connolly talks to us about his work at the historic Meeting House. [Read more…] about Interview with Sean Connolly, Executive Director of Arch Street Meeting House
Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust Welcomes Sean Connolly as Executive Director
The Board of Trustees of Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of Sean Connolly as its new Executive Director, beginning June 9, 2020.
Sean comes to the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust from Pennsbury Manor, where he oversaw the Education Department. Formerly, he was the Assistant Director for Historic Philadelphia Inc.’s Once Upon A Nation program and the Executive Director of the Manayunk Theatre Company. He has also taught in the Department of History at Drexel University. [Read more…] about Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust Welcomes Sean Connolly as Executive Director
Dedication of Historical Marker at Arch Street Meeting House
On July 27, during the Democratic National Convention, a ceremony was held at the Arch Street Meeting House to dedicate a historic marker that has since been installed along Arch Street, east of Fourth Street. It is the first such marker issued by the City of Philadelphia, and reads:
Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of the Equality Forum, related that “[i]n 1979, when this conference was held, we were ‘toxic.’ There was no other meeting place,” Lazin said. “The Philadelphia Quakers were the only ones who embraced the LGBT rights activists.”
In his welcoming remarks, the clerk of the Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust, Wally Evans, recognized that years ago the LGBT community “at a critical time in history, needed and deserved Friends’ ‘understanding compassion’ and support.”
The Society of Friends have often been noted for their opposition to discrimination and have actively led or participated in numerous civil rights and reform movements in the United States, including: the equality of women, Native American rights, prison reform, the abolition of slavery, the Underground Railway, and woman’s suffrage. In the 1970s, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting focused on LGBTQ equality.
In 1972, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting appointed a Committee on Homosexuality under the Meeting for Social Concerns to work for the assurance of gay civil rights. A year later, the Yearly Meeting went on record as opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation, stating:
“We should be aware that there is a great diversity in the relationships that people develop with one another. The same standards under the law which we apply to heterosexual activities should also be applied to homosexual activities. As persons who engage in homosexual activities suffer serious discrimination in employment, housing and the right to worship, we believe that civil rights laws should protect them. In particular we advocate the revision of all legislation imposing disabilities and penalties upon homosexual activities.”
In conclusion, Evans related that “Friends are uncomfortable in seeking acknowledgment or validation of our social activism. But this is a marker that praises your historic accomplishment; and we take pride that we were able to provide a stage for you thirty-seven years ago. Congratulations for the progress that we have been privileged to witness since 1979 and the anticipated strides that will move us forward.”
The ceremony concluded with the Keynote Speaker, Dustin Lance Black. An American screenwriter, director, film and television producer (Milk, J. Edgar, When We Rise) and LGBT rights activist, Black provided an emotional recounting of personal struggles during his youth as a “closeted student”, a life changing visit to Philadelphia where he learned of the LGBT movement in the city, and his vision of raised awareness of civil rights in the LGBT community He was truly inspiring.
Photo (l. to r.): Wally Evans, ASMHPT; Paul Steinke, Preservation Alliance; Malcolm Lazin; Richard Burns, original attendee of the 1979 conference; Keynote Speaker Dustin Lance Black; and Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla.
Ministry of Tourism: Arch Street Meeting House featured in Friends Journal
I try to put myself in their shoes to see the meetinghouse with new eyes. Is there adequate signage out front? Do people know what the word “meetinghouse” means? Is it clear that the meetinghouse is built on a burial ground? Do they think it is a sacred place? A great place to walk their dog? Just another old building? Are they looking for a spiritual experience or to hear about the Underground Railroad?
One of many special PYM landmarks was recently featured in Friends Journal, in an article called “Ministry of Tourism” by Lynne Calamia, Director of Arch Street Meeting House. In this story, Lynne explores the unique role that Arch Street Meeting House plays in the Old City Philadelphia tourism circuit, and what it’s been like for her to have the opportunity to share about Quaker history and beliefs with the general public. She also highlights a bit of what’s in store for the future through Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust.
Arch Street Meeting House attracts more than 25,000 visitors come to from all around the world. Read the whole article on Friends Journal to learn more.