Philly fed employees: These city institutions are trying to take your mind off being shutdown

Without pay and some without work since Dec. 22, federal employees have been trapped in a political waiting game.

It can’t be underestimated how the entertainment industry has historically presented itself as one of the great diversions during times of hardships.

During the Great Depression, theaters reduced prices and attendance rates rose to the tune of 80 million Americans that frequented the movies at least once a week. As this past December’s stock market resembled that of the 1930s, and as the partial government shutdown continues in full force, entertainment might yet again be the pill that is the most welcomed swallow.

Just as in those foregone years of old, here in Philadelphia there are private institutions stepping up to the plate and providing those without recourse various forms of stress relievers.

From free pizza at Jules Thin Crust fried chicken dinners at Fishtown’s Pineville Tavern to a free-month subscription to Rosetta Stone, while the ultimate remedy would be the reopen of the government, many of Philadelphia’s entertainment venues are offering complimentary items to government workers affected by the partial government shutdown.

Here are a few kickbacks federal workers are receiving that, if anything else, are a good way to keep spirits high and to kill time during the shutdown.

The Philly POPS Big Band

Furlough government workers with a government-issued employee ID can receive one pair of tickets to Jazzed! The Philly POPS Big Band with Terell Stafford, a performance that pays tribute to Philadelphia’s contributions to the Jazz age of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Headed by the Philly POPS Big Band as part of their fortieth anniversary celebration, the swinging event will  include internationally-recognized, Philly-based trumpeter Terell Stafford with three-time, Grammy-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. | January 18: 8:00 p.m. January 19 and 20: 3:00 p.m. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 300 S. Broad Street.

The Museum of the American Revolution

As a government worker in a distressing time, take three guests for free to see how this country was formed at the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City. | Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd St.

The Academy of Natural Sciences

Take a tour of the sciences with a pay-as-you-wish admission for federal employees who show their government issued I.D. A person may have four max in their party, allowing the whole family to take a trip to the museum. This special rate will be in effect through January 31 or until the government reopens. | The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Walnut Street Theatre

Sometimes comic relief is the best remedy during times of hardship. Get two free tickets to the Walnut Street Theatre’s madcap show Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors. Set in 1930’s Paris, the show includes “one hotel suite, two wives, three girlfriends, four tenors, and a soccer stadium filled with screaming fans.” Hours away from “‘The Concert of the Century!,’” will the characters be able to calm their mischief, love affairs and more for the show to go on? | Promotion through Jan. 27. Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Federal employees can present a government ID for a complimentary ticket and a plus one. Take a trip down the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s latest fashionable Dior exhibit or a venture into the long standing Arms and Armour display for some culture and much needed reprieve. With numerous corridors and exhibits, the museum will present hours of immersive distraction. | Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin.

Morris Arboretum

Federal workers and their families have been invited to relieve stress by walking the 92-acres of protected city gardens at the Morris Arboretum. Show your ID and it’s free to peruse the grounds, and witness the winter blooms of all sorts of annuals you never knew emerged in freezing temperatures. Hopefully, we aren’t still talking about a shutdown by this time next month, but sadly if that’s the case, the Arboretum has one of the largest collections of witch hazel, which according to the organization is one of the earliest bloomers heading into spring and features a vibrant color scheme along with an unmistakable scent to boot. It’s not exactly stopping to smell the roses, but hey, it is indeed something. |  Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave.

Are you offering a special to Philadelphia’s furloughed federal workers? Tell us via Twitter @PhillyWeekly or email us at and we’ll share it.  


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