August 05, 2019

Museum Pilots Citizenship Initiative to Prepare Philadelphia-Area Immigrants to Become Engaged U.S. Citizens

Free Classes Use Museum Exhibits and Artifacts as Preparation for Naturalization Test

Philadelphia’s growing immigrant community represents nearly 15 percent of all city residents, approximately 64,000 of whom are eligible to become American citizens. This summer, the Museum of the American Revolution is piloting a new initiative to help aspiring citizens in the Philadelphia area prepare for U.S. citizenship. This marks the first time a program like this has been offered at a Philadelphia museum. 

Through a series of interactive classes, Museum educators use the Museum’s exhibits, artifacts, and stories to help prepare green card holders/lawful permanent residents for the rigorous United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Test (just one in three American citizens would be able to pass it, according to a recent survey).

Over eight evening sessions, participants will build a stronger understanding of American history and government and the significance of the American Revolution in our world today. The first course runs from July 15 – August 7.

“This initiative is about more than just helping people to pass a test,” said Dr. Elizabeth Grant, Director of Education for the Museum. “It is about developing a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our nation’s history, and empowering our new fellow citizens to be active, engaged participants in our democracy.”

At the conclusion of the program, each participant will receive a certificate of completion at a closing event as well as a Family Ticket (two adults and two youth) to the Museum. Following this pilot program, the Museum plans to offer sessions several times per year. The next one will run from Oct. 28 – Nov. 20.

“The Museum offers an ideal setting to explore the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship because it dedicates itself to telling the story of the American Revolution and the birth of the American Republic,” said Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, President and CEO of the Museum. “By providing participants the opportunity to directly engage with diverse perspectives and a rich array of historical evidence, artifacts, and visuals, the Museum is uniquely positioned to ensure that new citizens feel deeply connected to the promise of the American Revolution.”

To encourage dialogue and deeper engagement, the classes will be limited to approximately 15-20 people. For more information and to register, visit http://www.amrevmuseum.org/public-programs/citizenship, or contact 267.579.3503 or citizenship@amrevmuseum.org.

The program is funded by John and Patricia Walsh, UGI Corporation, and William and Valerie Schwartz. Museum Board Member William Schwartz, the principal and co-founder of INTECH Construction, the firm that built the Museum, is a naturalized American citizen from Peru. The project is being managed by Dana Devon, a longtime educational producer of regional and national civic and global literacy programming.

The program is supported by cooperating partners including the City of Philadelphia’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, the Welcoming Center, Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, HIAS Pennsylvania, and Nationalities Service Center, as well as program presenter U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will present a Naturalization 101 class during the final class of the course.

While this program will primarily serve aspiring U.S. citizens, once launched, museum educators plan to repurpose the curriculum design and content to reach a broader audience, including youth, educators, and adult learners.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dramatic, surprising story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and digital touchscreens bring to life the diverse array of people who created a new nation against incredible odds. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.