Holidays MLK Day
MLK Day Chick Harrity/AP

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks March 25, 1967, at the Chicago peace march.

January 09, 2017

Seven ways to participate in MLK Day 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is on Jan. 16

Each Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there is a quote by the civil rights activist that gets repeated again and again: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

While King has many memorable lines from many powerful speeches, that particular quote seems to embody the spirit of MLK Day.

Those words, spoken in 1957, inspire action today. On the holiday, communities gather together to donate, volunteer or reflect.

Below are seven ways to participate in MLK Day 2017.

2017 MLK Weekend Celebration at AAMP

Once again, the African American Museum in Philadelphia and Citizens Bank have teamed up for the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Admission to the museum will be $2 from Friday, Jan. 13, through Monday, Jan. 16.

This year, the weekend kicks off with a special screening of Ava DuVernay's "13th."

There will also be art activities, performances and workshops, and guests can explore the museum's core exhibit "Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia, 1776-1876."

Friday, Jan. 13 through Monday, Jan. 16 
$2 admission
African American Museum in Philadelphia
701 Arch St.
(215) 574-0380


2017 MLK Weekend at Please Touch Museum

Children can learn about King's legacy through interactive story time. There will also be an art activity where everyone will discuss and draw their wishes and dreams for themselves and the world.

Saturday, Jan. 14 through Monday, Jan. 16
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Free with admission
Please Touch Museum
4231 Ave. of the Republic
(215) 581-3181


MLK Weekend at Eastern State Penitentiary

King's 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" will be read at the Penitentiary three times daily (11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) from Saturday, Jan. 14, to Monday, Jan. 16. 

Following each reading, a civil rights scholar will answer any questions. Visitors are invited to discuss the letter's relevance to current times.

Children ages 7-12 can create art based on themes in the letter or read stories on King's life on Monday, Jan. 16. 

Both events are free to attend.

Saturday, Jan. 14 through Monday, Jan. 16
11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. | Free
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave.
(215) 236-3300


Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Here's an opportunity to put a smile on someone's face. The museum is organizing a community event where participants create art to be distributed by MANNAThe local organization that gives meals to those with illnesses will distribute the artwork when delivering food.

Monday, Jan. 16
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Pay-what-you-wish admission
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
(215) 763-8100


Philadelphia Orchestra Annual MLK Day Tribute

"With this special concert, we create an experience that forges bonds between people of various backgrounds through the joy of music,” said Philadelphia Orchestra president and CEO Allison Vulgamore.

While the event is free to attend, tickets are still required, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 1 p.m. for the 1:30 show time.

Once again, the concert will be broadcast live at WRTI 90.1 FM for those who can't make the live show. Listeners can tune in on the radio or through the WRTI website.

Monday, Jan. 16
1:30 p.m. | Free with reservation
Girard College Chapel
2101 S. College Ave.
(215) 787-2600


Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center will join with Global Citizen’s Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service again this year.

There will be events throughout the day that give back to the community. Admission is $5 and includes access to the museum and all MLK Day activities.

Attendees can bring books or school supplies to drop off before enjoying a sing-along, storytelling, a reading of the "I Have a Dream" speech and arts & crafts.

Monday, Jan. 16
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | $5 admission
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.
(215) 409-6600


Woodmere Art Museum's MLK Day Festival

The family-friendly event will include storytelling, arts & crafts, music and a spoken word performance.

The festival takes place amidst Woodmere’s exhibition "A Million Faces: The Photography of John W. Mosley," which contains several photographs of King and other civil rights heroes.

Monday, Jan. 16
Noon to 4 p.m. | Free
Woodmere Art Museum
9201 Germantown Ave.
(215) 247-0476