First Bank museum project, Pennsylvania’s oldest federal building

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Independence Historical Trust (IHT) is working towardsĀ  transforming a historic First Bank building in Pennsylvania into a First Bank museum. Recently, the philanthropic organization, announced that it has secured federal funds worth $22.2 million needed to open the site. This property which dates back to the 1790s is well renowned as the oldest surviving federal building in the country.

IHT hopes to complete the First Bank museum buildingĀ  by 2026, when the nation will be celebrating its 250th birthday. If the developer’s plan isĀ  successful, it would be first time for theĀ  public to accessĀ  the building in 5 decades. The plan has been in the works since 2017, and IHT has generated private funds for the project since then.

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Thus far, IHT has raised over $4 million from donors for the First Bank museum development. But the project still needs an additional $6.6 millionĀ  to develop a series of educational exhibits. These exhibits will focus on the history of money, land, work and trade. Additionally, the facilities will also showcase the role slaves played as collateral in the southern branches of the national bank.

Upgrades for the First Bank museum building

The reconstruction work forĀ  the exterior of the First Bank museum building will cover theĀ  replacement of leaking metal roofing. Additionally, the renovations willĀ  include other worn out design elements on the building’s facade. This will also involveĀ  cleaning and repairs on the marble and brick masonry.


The First Bank museum building will have several upgrades added to the interior as well. The renovations inside the building will add accessible restrooms and a fire suppression system. Additionally, the improvements will also involve HVAC systems installations, replacing an elevator and updating electrical equipment. The developer plans to preserve some of the building’s renovations from 1902 as well. Therefore the grand interior, consisting of a floor to ceiling rotunda supported by 42 columns will not undergo any significant modifications. It will be retouched to preserve its current design.