The Philadelphia Museum of Art was founded in 1876. With over 200,000 pieces of art in its collection, it encompasses everything from textiles to Eastern art. It has one of the finest American collections in the world. The collection is anchored by local artist Thomas Eakins. The museum contains not only pieces of art work but also furniture, glass, pottery and silver. It is a comprehensive collection that can stand up against just about any museum in the world.
Even if you have never visited Philadelphia, chances are you know what the art museum looks like. When Rocky runs up the stairs in that famous scene, he is doing it on the front stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is a very distinctive building and makes a great impression when you first see it. If you are like most people who visit Philadelphia however, you will want to take your turn running up the stairs humming the Rocky theme. To enter the museum however, you will need to go around to the other side of the building.
When you enter the museum, check to see what special tours they are offering that day. The board next to the main desk will give you that information. You can also pick up a copy of Today at the Museum which will tell you what is being offered. If you visit on Sunday you can make whatever donation you choose as your entrance fee.
Among the tours that are offered is a headphone tour narrated by the Director of the museum called “Director’s Delights” there is also one called” Museum Highlights”. If you have the time it is worth your while to do one of these tours.
The second floor of the museum has the Old Masters collection. Galleries 250-299 cover European art from 1500-1850. These galleries contain a variety of art and styles, as well as period rooms. One exceptional piece is the portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette by Elisabeth Viger LeBrun, On the Director’s Tour you are led to the Landsdowne Room, an Adams drawing room which once graced Landsdowne House in London. It has an amazing ceiling and this room has played host to many famous people during its heyday.
Among the early European artists featured are Rogier Van der Weyden and Jan Van Eyck. Van Eyck’s painting of St Francis is a difficult painting to find because it is very tiny. In a place of prominence you will find the Hudon’s bust of Benjamin Franklin; it seems fitting, since this is Philadelphia where Franklin lived for so many years.
The arms and armor collection is a favorite with men and boys and the textiles collection will delight any of the girls and woman in your group. On Sundays special programs are offered for the children in the family. To find out any special exhibits that they will be hosting check out their website.
If you get hungry, there is a cafeteria, as well as a more formal restaurant. There are several gift shops, with the main one being in the same area as the restaurants. If you are staying in downtown Philadelphia one of the stops on Phlash Bus is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There is a parking lot but the number of spots is limited. Why not join the 1 million other people who will visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art this year. You will not be disappointed.
Photo credit: “Philadephia Museum of Art”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Philadephia_Museum_of_Art.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Philadephia_Museum_of_Art.jpg
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.