Monday January 18, 2016 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day that is signified as a day of service, to give back to your community, your family or an organization that helps others. Some of the activities people can participate in would be organizing or participating in a project, making donations or attending one of the many educational events in the city. One of the key aspects of this day is education for the community, and many of the museums and attractions in Philly will be offering MLK events for free.

21st Annual MLK Day Of Service
Philadelphia Chapter

There is an official group dedicated to implementing the ideals of “a day of service.” The Philadelphia Chapter works within all of these areas; they organize projects and volunteers who take direct action to benefit the community. This is also done with the donatation of goods or funds to help those who need it most. You can sign up even if it’s just to learn more or advocate to inspire others. Their main mission is to connect to create a “beloved community.” This chapter has over 125,000 volunteers and is the largest event in the country.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 409-6600

The National Constitution Center will dedicate the day to Martin Luther King. During the day the center holds additional tours featuring the successes of Martin Luther King and race relations. The Constitution Center has ongoing exhibits and movies that are centrally themed to the pursuit of freedom. There will also be activities and readings of the “I have a Dream” speech. Admission to the Constitution Center is discounted on MLK day at about $5 a person.

The African American Museum Of Philadelphia
701 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 574-0380

The African American Museum is overall full of stories of hope and overcoming adversity. In January 2016, the museum will hold related programs and activities for all ages in honor of MLK Day. “Drapetomania the Art of Africans in Cuba” is the newest exhibit and will begin on January 18, 2016 and continue through March. This museum is committed to showcasing the work and achievements of African Americans, specifically from the Philadelphia area.

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Philadelphia Art Museum
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 763-8100

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the country’s largest art museums, and if you haven’t visited it yet, perhaps MLK day is the day to do so. The Art museum will be offering free guided tours and is holding a special family festival from 10-3 pm. The family festival will be supplied for people to make art that will later be given back to the community. MANNA is collecting and making art work. The St. Thomas Gospel Choir will perform at 1 pm. Museum admission is not discounted (children 12 and under are free).

Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 236-3300

Easter State Penitentiary is America’s most historic prison and considered the world’s first true penitentiary. Whenever you are visiting Eastern State, your visit includes a walking tour, audio tour and there are hands on exhibits. Eastern State every year has professional actors read Martin Luther King’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written when he was incarcerated. Eastern State begins activities for MLK day the weekend before and including the day itself. Families can recreate art in response to the letter readings. Activities are free from 10:30 to 4:30 each day and are open to the public. Letter readings are also free, but tickets are required and can be obtained online.

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Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here