Special Walking Tour

This event is no longer on sale.

Wednesday September 14

5:00 PM  –  7:30 PM

**Special Tour** Founder's Hall Hard Hat Tour

Stephen Girard’s 1831 Will left an unprecedented $2 million construction budget to build a school to educate poor orphans. He left meticulous instructions for the original classroom building, now known as Founder’s Hall. It was to be built of masonry and marble, have four 50’x 50’ classrooms on each of three floors, front and rear vestibules, and staircases in the four corners. In, 1832, Thomas Ustick Walter won the architectural competition to design the school; he would later become a founding member of the American Institute of Architects and would design the U.S. Capitol dome.  

Built from 1833-1847, Founder’s Hall is one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in America and the second-most expensive building prior to the Civil War. An 1864 guidebook marveled, “[It] is one of the most beautiful structures of modern times, as a work of art alone.” Founder's Hall was placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places at its inception in 1956 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1969. As steward of this significant structure, Girard College has pursued a preservation plan over the last 25 years which has included a new roof over the historic marble roof, restoration of the monumental windows and doors, and masonry conservation.  

The first floor of Founder's Hall is being renovated to support event and larger education uses. Join us on a tour led by Kathy Hass, Doug Seiler, and Kristi Bracali, to see various stages of the Founder's Hall renovation. 


A reception will follow the tour at the Welcome Center (Building 4). See map.


Please arrive at the Girard College Main Gate at Corinthian and College Avenues, Philadelphia. Bring identification and register with the guard.  Parking will be provided, but carpooling or transit is encouraged as the nearest parking is limited. 

Meet on the top steps at the South Entrance of Founder's Hall.

Kathy Haas is the Director of Historical Resources at Girard College, a position she has held since 2017.  In this role she runs the museum in Founder's Hall and conducts all work related to collections, archives, and preservation. Prior to arriving at Girard, Kathy was at the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia for twelve years and at a number of New England institutions. She is a graduate of Harvard and of the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware.

Doug Seiler is the founding principal of Seiler Drury Architecture. He has over 33 years experience as an architect and educator. He is active in the revitalization, sustainability and preservation community.  Seiler Drury received the 2020 Grand Jury Award from the Alliance for the Charles W. Schaeffer School. Doug is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Clemson University and is a LEED AP.

Kirsti Bracali is a principal at Dan Bosin Associates and the consulting project manager for the Founder's Hall Project.  She is a registered architect, spending 12 years in design architecture for a variety of project types and the past 10 years as an owner representative for non-profit cultural and museum institutions.  She is a graduate of Drexel University. 

Know Before You Go:

  • Tour goers are not required to mask, but must wear sturdy closed toe shoes and pants.
  • Hard hats and safety vests will be provided.  Tour goers are welcome to bring their own.
  • All Tour goers must complete and sign the waiver form. Please review the form ahead of time and be prepared to sign upon arrival. 
  • Please be advised that Founder's hall is not an accessible building during construction and tour goers will need to be able bodied to navigate scaffolded areas and several steps.
  • Preservation Alliance walking tours utilize an audio system that transmits from a headset worn by the guide to earpieces worn by tour attendees. The equipment is thoroughly sanitized before and after each use. Tour attendees can also plug in their personal headsets or earbuds that use a standard headphone jack (Not compatible with Bluetooth or Apple earphones).

Space is limited. Advance registration required.

Questions? Email Vinni Cheng at vinni@preservationalliance.com