[SOLD OUT!] The Duties of the Tea Table: Exploring the History and Culture of Tea | Behind the Bookcase tour (in-person)

Date / Time

  • March 30, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

Behind the Bookcase tours are sponsored by William and Anna Marie Petersen


Register for the Waitlist


Tea is a beloved beverage with a complex and fascinating history closely linked to the birth of the United States as an independent nation. Using historic, handwritten documents and beautiful artworks in The Rosenbach’s collection, this tour will explore the global, cross-cultural connections forged via the thriving tea market in Europe in the 1600s and 1700s, as well as the role tea drinking played in the cultural history of the British Empire. Remarkable handwritten letters and legal documents will illuminate the dramatic events of the Boston Tea Party, which helped spark the American Revolution. We will also examine rare books from the Rosenbach collection, to encounter famous examples of tea in literature including the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  

The tour also draws heavily on The Rosenbach’s decorative art collection. Visitors will see and handle rare artifacts that reveal how tea was stored, prepared, and consumed in the 1700s and 1800s, including an ornate mahogany tea caddy, colorful Victorian teapots and teacups, serving pieces from historic silver services, and more. The tour will conclude with a discussion of how tea fits into critical global issues of our time including ethical sourcing, the organic movement, and climate change.  

Pour yourself a hot cup of history at The Rosenbach, as we explore the history of tea! 

About Behind the Bookcase: Hands-on Tours at The Rosenbach

Behind the Bookcase: Hands-on Tours offer unparalleled access to see, and even touch, rare and important items not usually on view to the public. Each program is dedicated to a different author, theme, or topic and grants a truly hands-on experience with materials in The Rosenbach’s inspiring collection.

See all upcoming tours hereSpace is limited and advance registration is strongly recommended.