Mummers Museum
1100 South 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 336-3050

Places Nearby:
Mario Lanza Museum
Landmarks Society
Norman Rockwell Museum
Independence National Historic Park
Independence Seaport Museum
More in:

Other States:

"Mummer" comes from the Old French momer, to wear a mask; pantomime. It means a masked or costumed merrymaker, especially at a festival (American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd Edition).

Mummery is an old tradition in Philadelphia, and the famous Mummers Parade dates back to pre-Colonial times, resulting from a blend of Swedish, Finnish, Irish, English, German, African-American, and other European heritages. With the Mummers in full swing, New Years is celebrated in Philadelphia as it is nowhere else in the world.

Those who participate in the festivities are sometimes referred to as Shooters and Mummers. A bit of history: In the late 1700's, when the Swedes came to Philadelphia, they brought their custom of visiting friends on the Second Day of Christmas, December 26. Later the period of celebration was extended to include New Years Day. The grandest of celebrations became grander and grander with each new year. Celebrating the New Year was a noisy affair. With most people in those days carrying firearms for protection, many shot in the New Year. Hence the term Shooters.

Today's parades include juried competitions. While firearms are no longer discharged, the revelry is as intense as the rivalry between the various mummer groups, assuring spectators and participants alike a wonderful time.

The Mummers Museum celebrates all that is mummery and New Years Day. Visitors will enjoy unique exhibits featuring the intricate handwork that goes into the elaborate costumes. Everyone can learn to do the renowned "Mummers Strut" to the tune of "O' Dem Golden Slippers," the unofficial Mummers theme song composed by Philadelphian James Bland in 1879.

The wonderful Broad Street Room practically puts visitors right into the Parade. Other exhibits highlight special features such as the String Band Sound, with sound, of course. Video performances of past parades can be seen.

Throughout the Museum visitors will see the design sketches used by the various mummery clubs in the creation of their costumes. The beautiful and colorful sketches were donated by Robert Finnigan, who has been developing themes for the mummers for many years.

The Museum sponsors weekly concerts from May through September, and there are other special events. Of course, Philadelphia is the place to ring in the New Year!

Families can take a Self-Guided Tour of this great museum. Or have a child's birthday party here! Groups, including School Groups can select from several tour packages, including one with a Children's Art Class in which they make their own Mummer masks! Groups should have at least 20 people.

Hours: Open Wednesday - Saturday 9:30am - 4:30pm. Closed Sunday - Tuesday and all holidays.
Adults $3.50
Seniors $2.50
Children under 12 $2.50
Group Guided Tour $2.00 per person. Tour with concert and lunch $16.00 per person. Tour with Art Class $25.00 per class plus $5.00 per person. Birthday Party for 10 - 50 children, $75.00 plus $5.00 per person. Call to confirm rates.
Group Reservations: At least 4 weeks in advance.
Lunch: Bagged lunch can be eaten indoors by advance arrangement.
Handicapped Access: Accessible. Call.
Directions: Enter lot at 2nd St. & Washington Ave.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.