The garden under construction in August 2020. High res available.

The Rosenbach’s Hidden Historic Rittenhouse Square Garden Reopens After More Than 20 Years [press release]

For immediate release 

PHILADELPHIA, September 15, 2020—The Rosenbach is proud to announce that after more than 20 years, its garden is set to reopen to the public on September 17, 2020 and will be free of charge to visit during the first month of opening. 

The Rosenbach’s garden is a 1,600 square foot green oasis tucked behind the Delancey Place townhomes that house the museum and library. The space is unique in that it is the last original garden left on the block. Others have been converted to parking spaces, building extensions, or never existed in the original blueprint when the townhouses were constructed in the mid-19th century. 

The Rosenbach’s garden has been closed to the public since 1999 when the buildings were renovated and the space was altered to add an accessibility ramp. This summer, the garden has been carefully renovated and filled with beautiful flowers and native plants that were specially selected to connect with works of literature in The Rosenbach’s collections 

“We’re thrilled to welcome the public back into our garden after it’s been hidden for so many decadesIts a remarkable space and we’re glad to share it with our community when the demand for safe outdoor activities is greater than ever.  In the coming years, The Rosenbach’s garden will be fully renovated as an outdoor venue but in the meantime, we’re delighted to open the gates for our friends and neighbors to enjoy this season. says The Rosenbach’s Director Derick Dreher.  

The Rosenbach’s collections include works by William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, and countless others that were inspired by the natural world. The Rosenbach’s collections staff have created six different interpretive guides that direct visitors where to find different plants referenced in these important works of literature along with context from the authors. Visitors are encouraged to use these digital guides to complement their experience or they can simply enjoy a slice of nature in the heart of Rittenhouse Square at their own pace. 

The Rosenbach’s buildings remain closed to the public as a health precaution but access to the garden will be free of charge from September 17-October 17, 2020 and included with admission after that time. The garden will be open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30-4:30, starting on September 17. At this time, the garden is only accessible by pre-registering online at and due to high demand, timed tickets are sold out through October 3. Later slots will be released in the coming weeks with early access to Rosenbach members.  Guests are required to wear masks at all times during their visit and there is a limit of six guests per group to ensure safe social distancing. A full list of garden and guest safety policies can be found online.  

 The Rosenbach’s garden reopening has been made possible by The McLean Contributionship and an anonymous donor with special thanks to Dorothy Binswanger. The renovations undertaken in the garden this summer are part of a larger, long-term plan for The Rosenbach to convert the space into an outdoor venue for public programming and private events that has been generously supported by the above donors as well as Jim and Janet Averill and the Connelly Foundation.

Press photographers and videographers are welcome to schedule private access to the garden by contacting Rosa Doherty, Manager of Communications, at [email protected] 


About The Rosenbach 

The Rosenbach creates unique experiences for broad audiences through programs inspired by its world-class holdings of literature and history. The Rosenbach is located in Center City Philadelphia and is open to the public six days per week, with growing content available at all times on The Rosenbach is affiliated with the Free Library of Philadelphia.