800 Spruce St., 215/829-3000
HOURS: Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.
COST: Free, $2 to purchase visitors guide from gift shop
Although Benjamin Franklin was best known as an inventor and scientist, he also dabbled in medicine. Realizing the importance of a medical care facility, he consulted esteemed doctor Thomas Bond, and together they founded the nation’s first hospital in 1751.
The hospital sparked a boom of medical advancements and made Philadelphia the hub of medicine and surgery in the Western hemisphere.
Now part of the University of Pennsylvania health-care system, the hospital remains an integral place of medical research and teaching and one of the city’s best hospitals in many fields. Since it is a functioning hospital, only a few areas are open to the public.
Tours can be scheduled by appointment Tuesday to Sunday, or a $2 booklet that details the hospital’s history can be purchased in the gift shop for a self-tour.
Don’t miss Benjamin West’s epic painting Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple, the 13,000-volume library containing a preserved seven-pound tumor, or the oldest existing surgical amphitheater in the United States—which was constructed on the top floor in 1804 to take advantage of natural light.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition