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October 20, 2021

Betsy Ross House hosting tours that allow guests to enter historic rooms

Visitors can step behind the landmark's plexiglass barriers as part of exclusive opportunities offered by Airbnb Experiences

Arts & Culture Betsy Ross House
Betsy Ross House Airbnb M. Kennedy/Visit Philadelphia™

The Betsy Ross House in Old City is offering exclusive tours that allow visitors to enter rooms typically blocked by plexiglass barriers.

History buffs have an opportunity to enter portions of the Betsy Ross House that are typically blocked by  plexiglass barriers – like the bedroom where the seamstress purportedly stitched the first American flag. 

Airbnb Experiences is offering exclusive tours of the Betsy Ross House in Old City as part of a broader effort to help historic sites and museums recover from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guests will be able to enter the shop where Ross worked as an upholster and the parlor where she is believed to have welcomed George Washington and the Continental Congress' Flag Committee. And, of course, they'll get an up-close look at the room where she supposedly sewed the flag in secrecy.

The 90-minute tour also will detail how Ross made musket balls to support the Continental Army in the American Revolution. It will include various anecdotes from Ross's life and historical artifacts from the house's collection — including personal items that are not on public display.

Guests also will get to meet a historic impersonator of Ross, who will respond to questions about her life.

The Airbnb Experiences tour will be available every Thursday from Oct. 28 through Dec. 23, except for Thanksgiving Day. Admission is $50 per person or $400 for a private group of up to eight people. All guests must wear face masks.

The tours are part of an effort put together by Airbnb and Made By Us — a nationwide coalition of historical and civic organizations — to support historic sites. The National Archives and Ford's Theater in Washington are among the other sites offering exclusive tours. 

Each site will keep 100% of the proceeds. Historic Philadelphia, the organization that runs the Betsy Ross House, said it will use the funds for preservation, conservation and operational expenses. 

"Historic sites and museums are the heartbeat of our cities, and as the keepers of our stories, they contain critical tools and information that we need to shape our future," said Caroline Klibanoff, managing director for Made By Us. "By partnering with Airbnb, these experiences offer entertainment, learning and deeper context for how we live today, igniting curiosity for guests and sustaining our institutions."

The Betsy Ross House opened in 1898. The museum pays tribute to Ross as a patriot and entrepreneur who managed her own household and business during the Revolutionary War.

The 18th century-style row house originally was built in 1740 and has been furnished to reflect the American Revolution period. Ross is believed to have lived at the residence from 1776-1779.

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