Carpenters' Hall of Philadelphia

Carpenters' Hall is a treasure in historic Philadelphia. It hosted the First Continental Congress in 1774 and was home to Franklin's Library Company, The American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States.

The Carpenters’ Company Welcomes Michael Norris as Executive Director


The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, builders and caretakers of historic Carpenters’ Hall in Independence National Historical Park in Old City, is proud and delighted to announce that it has selected Michael Norris as its new Executive Director, beginning June 24. Norris comes to The Carpenters’ Company with a deep passion for Philadelphia and its role in American history. He has twenty-six years of experience in the city’s cultural sector and is known for building bridges between arts and culture and other sectors including human services, education, workforce development, and the corporate community. “The prospect of leading one of Philadelphia’s most venerable cultural institutions into a new era of relevance is very exciting to me. Carpenters’ Hall is not only the cradle of American democracy. It’s also the original incubator of Philadelphia’s cultural community,” Michael explained.  The Company’s board president Nick Cinalli PE noted that “Michael’s skills and background will serve us admirably as we approach our 300th anniversary in 2024.”

Most recently Michael served as the Chief Strategy Officer at the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance where he directed policy initiatives, community engagement and development efforts. Previously, Michael served as Executive Director of Art-Reach, where he worked to expand cultural access for people of all ages and circumstances.  During his last year at Art-Reach, the organization enabled 15,000 Philadelphia-area residents with disabilities and economic disadvantages to enjoy a cultural experience. Prior to leading Art-Reach, Michael spent nine years at the Arden Theatre Company, serving first as Development Director, and then as Director of External Relations, overseeing the company’s fundraising, marketing, public relations and community activities.

A native of Chester County, PA, Michael graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with a B.A. in journalism.  He holds a certificate in fundraising from the University of Pennsylvania and participated in the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford University Business School.  He received a Luminary Award from the Lantern Theatre Company in 2015, a Q Award for Arts Activism from the Spiral Q Puppet Theatre in 2014, and he was selected in 2011 by Leadership Philadelphia as one of Philadelphia’s Creative Connectors.

Organized in 1724 as a trade guild for builders, The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia is one of the country’s oldest and most historically significant nonprofit organizations. The Company’s members have leadership roles in the major architectural, engineering, and general contracting firms in Philadelphia and surrounding areas; they celebrate American history and their preeminent role in shaping the built environment past, present, and future. The members are bound by the mission of preserving and interpreting Carpenters’ Hall and keeping it open free of charge for all. A national landmark in historic Philadelphia, the Hall hosted the First Continental Congress in 1774 and was the original home to Benjamin Franklin's Library Company, The American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States.

THE Carpenters' CoMPANY

Set humbly back from Chestnut Street, the Hall has been continuously owned and operated by The Carpenters' Company  
of the City and County of Philadelphia, the oldest craft guild in America, since 1770. 


Carpenters' Hall can accommodate events for up to 125 guests. The Hall is open to the public from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Tuesday through Sunday and cannot be rented during those hours.


Today, Carpenters' Hall is free to the public and welcomes over 150,000 world-wide visitors to this wonderful Georgian building. Admission has been complimentary since 1857, when it became the first privately owned American building to be opened as a historic monument.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
— Benjamin Franklin
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So much of 18th century Philadelphia — its homes, churches and historic sites — is framed by three city blocks just south of Carpenters' Hall. Use the directions in the link below to enjoy an hour-long stroll of Old City and Society Hill.

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historic meeting minutes available for research

Peruse the newly digitized records of the oldest craft guild in the United States, who let their Hall to the delegates of the First Congress, Benjamin Franklin, the United States War Department, the American Philosophical Society, The First Bank of the United States, and much more! These freshly uploaded records offer insight to the citizen scholar and professional historian alike, available on the American Philosophical Society website link below.


Keep History Alive:
Donate Today!

Supporting Carpenters' Hall keeps a historic landmark open free to the public, sharing its essential role in the formation of the United States, as it has since 1857. Known as the "Birthplace of Liberty", Carpenters' Hall was the location of the 1774 meetings of the First Continental Congress.

Sunday 6pm & 10pm ET American Artifacts: Philadelphia's Carpenters' Hall Carpenters' Company historian Roger Moss leads a tour of the building that served as the meeting place of the First Continental Congress in 1774. It was also the former home to Ben Franklin's Library Company, the American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States.

Supported by:

and the generous contributions from members of The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia