PHILADELPHIA – This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Constitution Center encourages everyone to expand their civic horizons by participating in service projects at the Center and throughout the city. In honor of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Center will join in the 16th annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service, a city-wide commemoration and the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event in the nation, on Monday, January 17, 2011. Visitors to the Center can take part in a special quilting service project to benefit families made homeless by domestic violence, enjoy a sing-along concert, and witness a dramatic reading of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The Center’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events are FREE with museum admission.
Staff members from the National Constitution Center also will join the community in service by hosting a crafts and activities table at the Girard College Kids’ Carnival, serving dinner to the homeless at the Chosen 300 Ministries outreach center, cleaning and painting at the Reformation Lutheran Church, and bundling T-shirts at the non-profit organization Global Citizen.
In the spirit of Dr. King’s vision for a more engaged community, visitors to the Center on January 17 can sew quilts, baby blankets, and pillows for the non-profit organization, Women Against Abuse. From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., participants will learn how quilting has brought communities together throughout history. Children also will have the opportunity to create special crafts, including “Hands Across the World” chains and “I Have a Dream” mobiles.
In Kirby Auditorium at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., guests can take part in a sing-along concert with nationally renowned “Two of a Kind,” an award-winning, husband-wife duo specializing in interactive musical programs for children. The performance will focus on themes related to Martin Luther King, Jr. through songs, sign-language and stories, all with an emphasis on interaction and participation.
At 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m., visitors can participate in an interactive program that explores the history of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, from the first celebration in 1986 to President Clinton’s signing of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday and Service Act in 1994, which expanded the mission of the holiday as a day of service. Visitors can learn about Dr. King’s vision and how leaders around the world have echoed his call to service. In addition, students from regional high schools andcolleges and local actors will read aloud Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Throughout the day, visitors can post their responses to questions related to Martin Luther King, Jr., diversity, and citizenship on a special “talk back” board in the Center’s Grand Hall Lobby.
The day will conclude with a staff-led "Reflection Session” from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., during which volunteers can reflect on their experiences with service, what the holiday means to them, and how they feel Dr. King’s legacy is being carried out.
The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated toincreasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, “Freedom Rising.” The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education. Also, as a nonpartisan forum for constitutional discourse, the Center presents – without endorsement – programs that contain diverse viewpoints on a broad range of issues.