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Johnson House Historic Site, a Center for Social Advocacy (CSA), is a historic house museum that represents what everyday people have done and can do to make a difference in their community and beyond. Our example of partnership—between Africans seeking freedom and the “infidel” abolitionist Johnson family—serves as a catalyst to inspire, uplift and empower current and future generations. We accomplish our goals by creating interactive educational opportunities, fostering community initiatives and preserving the historic integrity of the house, grounds and outlier buildings.



Johnson House Journal

The Johnson House Historic Site enjoyed a successful year in 2016. Strategic issues impacting the health and vibrancy of the organization and the communities surrounding the House continue to lead our re-visioning efforts which resulted in the creation of our Center for Social Advocacy (CSA). The year 2017 represented the planning and learning year for the CSA. In 2018, the CSA kicked off its pilot Emerging Leaders Training Program, a capacity building program for young future community practitioners and activists, ages 18 – 30 years, led by community building practitioners.

Continued funding to support ongoing historic preservation and restoration project assists our Board of Directors in their collective role as stewards.

The creation of highly anticipated and well attended events and programs – History Hunters Youth Reporter Program and Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival  – stimulate visitorship. The future is bright!  


Johnson House was built by John Johnson, son of a Dutch immigrant, for his son John Johnson Jr., as a wedding present in 1768. The Johnson family, Quakers, farmed the land and ran a thriving tannery business on their property. Stories that encompass the injustices of slavery and the perils of war; religious freedom, activism and human rights; political intrigue and ideological differences; and decency and compassion have unfolded within the walls of the Johnson House since its inception, and has been carefully interpreted and preserved to educate and inform today. From its beginnings as a manor house set in a bucolic agrarian community in the 1700’s owned by enlightened religious devotees, to its role as a pivotal station along the Underground Railroad in the 1800’s, and its current position as a historic preservation and educational institution in the 1900’s to current day, the Johnson House continues to symbolize freedom and civil liberties while championing the importance of community. Read More>>

Johnson Family, circa 1874

Johnson Family, circa 1874


To sustain the character, form, and integrity of the Johnson House built over 250 years ago, significant preservation and restoration work is currently underway to assure its long-term health. A team of experts ­– architects, engineers and preservation specialists ­– are working together to repair and maintain this venerable building utilizing materials consistent with dwellings constructed during this era. Recently, exterior carpentry repairs, window glazing, and priming and finish painting of the shutters on the main and side facades were completed!  This project moves us closer to becoming a more interactive public museum which will make it distinctive in its capacity to connect a vital chapter in American history to the public. We still have additional key preservation projects which must be completed!

Cornice repair, Johnson House roof

Cornice repair, Johnson House roof