Founder's Hall Museum
Stephen Girard – merchant, banker and landowner – was the wealthiest man in American when he died in 1831. In an unprecedented act of philanthropy, he left his fortune to establish Girard College, originally endowed to educate “poor, white male orphans.”
Housed in a magnificent Greek Revival landmark, the Founder’s Hall Museum offers a glimpse into the complex life of America’s first multi-millionaire and illuminates the legacy of a school which has fascinated visitors since the 19th century, became the focus of a key Northern civil rights case in the 20th century, and continues to educate youth today.
Museum Open Hours
Due to renovation at Founder’s Hall, the museum is currently closed to in-person visitation.
You can explore the museum on your own through our virtual tour or join one of our guided virtual tours listed below.
Live Virtual Tours
Sept 20, 12-1 PM EST
Oct 18, 12-1 PM EST
Join us online for a free live virtual tour of Founder’s Hall and its museum with Director of Historical Resources, Kathy Haas. Each tour will feature a guided walk-through of Founder’s Hall at Girard College and its museum collections in real time within our 360-degree virtual tour, along with the opportunity for Q&A. Register on Eventbrite for Zoom webinar details.
Archives Month Events
October is archives month and we are excited to be hosting an event here at Girard College as well as participating in two joint events. For more information about events around the area, check out Archives Month Philly.
“Founder’s Hall on the Web and on the Ground”: Wednesday October 18, 6-7:30 PM, Girard College Welcome Center
Founder’s Hall is one of the best documented buildings of its time, with hundreds of surviving original architectural drawings, as well as written records. Join Bruce Laverty, Curator of Architecture at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and Kathy Haas, Director of Historical Resources at Girard College for a discussion of our project to digitize all of the architectural drawings. The evening will also include a chance to examine some of the original drawings, as well as an exterior tour of Founder’s Hall itself, which is nearing the end of an 18 month revitalization project.
This joint digitization project was funded through a PHMC Historical & Archival Records Care Grant and has made all 250+ drawings freely available online through the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Website as well as the Digital Public Library of America
It Came from the Archives!: Wednesday, October 25, 7-9 PM, PhilaMOCA
This collaborative event will showcase short films from the archives of ten local institutions. We will be presenting a mid-20th century United States Information Service film about Girard College, with Director of Historical Resources Kathy Haas on hand to introduce the film and answer questions.
Sharing Our Stories: Connecting Communities and Archives: Thursday, October 26, 6-8 PM, Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central branch
This collaborative event will feature tables and workshops from archives and collections across the Philadelphia region. Girard College will be hosting a table focusing on materials relating to the desegregation of the school in 1968.
Historical Campus Tours
Join us in-person for a guided walking tour of the Girard College campus to explore its history and architecture and learn about the ongoing work of the school. Register on Eventbrite.
Sept. 13, 3-4 PM EST
Oct. 12, 3-4 PM EST
Explore the Founder’s Hall Museum at Girard College using the links below: