Partnership with history

The $130 million National Constitution Center, to be located on Independence Mall in Philadelphia's historic area, continues to benefit from its partnership with Penn.

Earlier this month, College Dean Rick Beeman testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee to secure about $20 million in federal funding. Beeman, the center's first senior fellow, and President Judith Rodin got Penn involved in the center's development two years ago.

In his testimony Sept. 2, Beeman tried to convince the senators the Constitution Center would not be "just a museum designed to promote tourism in Philadelphia, but a tool to further national education.

"If the ambitions of the National Constitution Center are realized, we will be able to reach millions of American citizens to inform them -- as we do students in our classrooms -- about the priceless heritage [Benjamin] Franklin and the other Framers bequeathed us," Beeman testified.

Despite one senator's description of the project as "Philadelphia Pork," the testimony and message he and Mayor Ed Rendell delivered were well-received, Beeman said.

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Originally published on September 17, 1998