Philadelphia Museum of Art
Monday off; Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Friday 10:00 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Museum of Art is the oldest museum in Philadelphia and one of the three largest museums in America. Each year it is visited by more than 700,000 people.
The institution was founded in 1826. That’s when the big exhibition dedicated to Independence Day was held. After its completion the Memorial exhibition hall was passed under the then small collection of paintings. Today the number of exhibits is astounding – there are over 250,000 of them. Separate attention deserves a collection of works by Van Gogh. There are also pictures by Renoir, Dali, Duchamp and many other famous painters and sculptors.
There are several branches here:
There are more than 100 sculptures, books and personal things of Auguste Rodin;
- The Perelman Building with collections of prints, drawings and photographs, textiles, furniture, ceramics and contemporary design objects;
- Colonial-era houses in Fairmount Park.
The new neoclassical museum complex was built in 1928 with funding from the Freemasons. Renowned designers and architects are still working on the gallery expansion. All work is expected to be completed in 2028.
The façade is decorated with sculptural groups that have become symbols of the institution. These are terracotta sculptures of Greek deities and mythological figures by Karl Paul Jenewijn and a collection of bronze griffins. The recognizable front stairs of the building are familiar to fans of the Rocky Balboa movie series; there is even a monument to the famous movie character at the entrance.
The museum has some interesting traditions. For example, every Friday night there is a rousing dance party with live music in the jazz and electro style.
Museum on the Panorama:
Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exhibits
The collection spans 2,000 years. It holds thousands of works of art by American, European and Asian masters.
Indian, Japanese and Chinese cultures are represented by paintings and sculptures, arts and crafts (furniture, ceramics, carpets) and entire architectural ensembles. You’ll see a Chinese palace hall, a Japanese tea house, and a 16th-century Indian temple. Read more about the exhibit here.
The halls of European art display works from the Middle Ages to the present: paintings and sculptures by the greatest masters of the Renaissance, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism; a collection of weapons and armor, fragments of facades, interiors, and more.
The American collection is no less interesting. It is considered one of the best in the United States. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a unique collection of Thomas Eakins’ works, as well as 18th- and 19th-century furniture, ceramics and silver that reflect Pennsylvania culture.
The contemporary art rooms display works by Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Constantine Brancusi, Agnes Martin, Jasper Johns and other artists.
Contemporary Art Hall:
For an overview of the exhibits, you can use the online search for the entire collection or view collections of works by specific artists on the institution’s official website.
For the convenience of visitors, the staff has developed tours lasting several hours or days. They are designed so that guests can see the most important exhibits.
For example, those who plan to spend only a few hours on getting to know the collection are recommended to join a free group tour, then take selfies in the Grand Staircase Hall, go to the contemporary art hall, and be sure to get acquainted with Marcel Duchamp’s work “The Dane”.
Those who are ready to devote several days to the exhibition are offered a more extensive program with visits to branches, participation in Friday parties and temporary exhibitions.
Independent tourists can think of a route in advance, using a map of the halls and an audio guide. Special brochures indicating the location of the most popular works are also handed out at the entrance.
Operating hours and ticket prices
The Philadelphia Museum of Art operates on the following schedule :
- Monday is a day off;
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00;
- Friday from 10:00 to 20:45.
On holidays a reduced working day or a day off.
Tickets are sold at the box office, on the official website of the museum or at partner companies. Online tickets on the website will cost $2 less.
- adults – $25;
- seniors (age 65 and older) – $23;
- students – $14;
- Persons under 18 years old – free.
How to get to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The complex is located in the center of the city. There is public transportation, and you can get here by bicycle, car, or cab.
There are several stops around the building:
- Stop. “Spring Garden St & Kelly Dr – bus #43;
- stop. “Art Museum Dr & Spring Garden St 3 – bus #38;
- stop. “Pennsylvania Av & 25th St – bus #32;
- stop. “Pennsylvania Av & 26th St – bus #7, 49.
The subway line is a 30-minute walk: walk from Fairmount Station – BSL to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Fairmount Avenue, and from Spring Garden Station on Spring Garden Street.
If you’re traveling as a family or group, cabs are advantageous. Book a car from Lyft, Uber, Freedom Taxi, Phila Taxi, and OnCabs Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Museum of Art – Philadelphia’s temple of art
Philadelphia is rich in its museums. But not every tourist can afford to visit them all. Be sure to visit the largest art museum in the United States, which always welcomes its visitors.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on a hill at the end of Benjamin Franklin Boulevard. The vast collections of this temple of art make it one of the largest art museums in the country and an absolute must-see cultural center in the city.
How the building was created
The Philadelphia City Council funded a competition in 1895 to design a new museum building, but it was not until 1907 that plans were first drawn up for its construction on Fairmount, the rocky hill topped by the city’s main reservoir. Fairmount Parkway (renamed Benjamin Franklin Parkway), a large boulevard that diagonally crosses the grid of city streets. It was designed to end at the foot of the hill. But there were conflicting opinions about whether to erect a single museum building or multiple buildings to house separate collections. The architectural firms of Horace Trumbauer, Zantzinger, Borie and Medary collaborated for more than a decade to resolve these disputes. The final design was largely the work of two architects in the Trumbauer firm: Howell Lewis Shay for the building plan and layout, and Julian Abele for the details and perspective drawings.
In 1902, Abele became the first African-American student to graduate from the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, now known as the Penn School of Design. Abele adapted the design of the temple’s classical Greek columns for the entrances to the museum and was responsible for the colors of both the building stone and the figures added to one of the gables. Construction of the main building began in 1919, when Mayor Thomas B. Smith laid the cornerstone. Due to a lack of funds caused by World War I and other delays, the new building was not completed until 1928. The building was built through the mining of dolomite in Minnesota. When the building was completed, on March 26, 1928, twenty second-floor galleries were opened, displaying works of English and American art, although much of the interior work was incomplete. The only gable that was completed was “Western Civilization,” represented by polychrome sculptures with painted terracotta figures depicting Greek deities and mythological figures. The building is also decorated with a collection of bronze griffins, which were adopted as the symbol of the museum in the 1970s.
History of the museum’s collections
Philadelphia celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with a centennial exhibit in 1876. The Memorial Hall, which housed the art gallery, was to outlast the exhibit and house a permanent museum. Following the example of London’s South Kensington Museum, the new museum was to focus on applied art and science and provide a school for teaching masters in drawing, painting, modeling and design.
The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art opened on May 10, 1877. The school became independent of the museum in 1964 and is now part of the University of the Arts. The museum’s collection began with exhibits and gifts from the public. European and Japanese fine and decorative arts and books for the museum’s library were among the first donations. However, the museum’s location outside the city center, was quite inconvenient for many residents. In 1882, Clara Jessup Moore donated a remarkable collection of antique furniture, enamels, carved ivory, jewelry, metalwork, glass, ceramics, books, textiles and paintings. The Countess de Brazza’s lace collection was acquired in 1894, forming the basis of the lace collection. In 1893, Anna H. Wilstach bequeathed a large collection of paintings, including many American paintings and half a million dollars for additional purchases. Works by James Abbott McNeil Whistler and George Inness were purchased within a few years, and The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner was purchased in 1899.
In the early 1900s the museum began an educational program for the general public as well as a membership program. Fiske Kimball was director of the museum during its rapid growth from the mid to late 1920s, which included one million visitors in 1928, the first year of the new building. In 1928, the museum expanded its print collection to include some 5,000 prints and drawings by old masters donated by Charles Lee, including French, German, Italian, and Dutch prints. Major exhibitions in the 1930s included works by Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Degas. In the 1940s, the museum’s major gifts and acquisitions were the collections of John D. McIlhenny (Oriental rugs), George Gray Barnard (sculpture), and Alfred Stieglitz (photography). Early modern art dominated the growth of the collections in the 1950s through the acquisition of the Louise and Walter Arensberg and A. E. Gallatin collections. The gift of a wedding gown to Philadelphia’s Grace Kelly is perhaps the most famous gift of the 1950s. Extensive renovation of the building continued from the 1960s through 1976. In 1976 there were celebrations and special exhibitions for the museum’s centennial and the nation’s bicentennial. During the past three decades, major acquisitions have included Edgar Degas’s “After Bathing” and Cy Twombly’s “Fifty Days in Eliam.”
Pride of Museum
The museum’s collection is famous mainly for works by Pennsylvanian artists (notably Thomas Eakins) and masterpieces of New Age painting, among them Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Dance at Moulin Rouge.” Renoir’s “Big Bathers,” Salvador Dali’s “Soft Construction with Boiled Beans,” and the most famous works by Marcel Duchamp (“The Nude Descending the Stairs,” “The Bride Undressed by Her Bachelors,” etc. ).
The museum building is very recognizable – it’s monumental columns and the famous staircase, which many visitors remember from the movie “Rocky”. The sculpture of Rocky Balboa, one of the most famous residents of Philadelphia, is also installed here, not far from the entrance to the museum.
In front of the museum is a small square called the Eakins Oval, named after Philadelphia’s most famous artist. In the middle is the equestrian monument to J. Washington on a magnificent pedestal. Not far from the entrance to the museum is a monument to Rocky Balboa: all the movies about this character feature the museum’s outdoor staircase. The huge square in front of the museum is often used for various cultural events.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art runs the Rodin Museum and the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Building, which in addition to exhibition galleries also houses administrative offices, research laboratories, an impressive museum library and archives. More information on the museum’s website.