Philadelphia Museum of Art
Beginning as the art gallery of the great 1876 Centennial Exposition Fairmount Park, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has grown to become one of the world's great art institutions, housing a collection of more than 300,000 works of art.
The Museum building itself is a work of art, composed of pure Minnesota dolomite with glazed blue roof tiles. Covering ten acres of ground, the Museum contains more than 200 galleries. From the beginning, the building was designed as the ultimate viewing space and visitors can negotiate the galleries in a very natural order. Naturally a museum of this dimension could be, and probably is, the subject of several books. Space here allows for only the smallest hint of what visitors will find. Just a few highlights among the many works housed in the Museum include:
Again, this is but a hint of what visitors can enjoy here. Many galleries are dedicated to Philadelphia furniture and silver alone. The Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection of Armor and Arms is one of the finest such collections in the world.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art also administers the Rodin Museum and two Historic Houses in Fairmount Park, featured later in this listing
A large assemblage of perfectly detailed Period Rooms represents life throughout the centuries and from around the world. A Pennsylvania German Kitchen from Millbach, Lebanon County can be seen here, as can the elegant Rococo Drawing Room from the townhouse of Samuel Powel, mayor of Philadelphia during the Revolution.
The Museum has long been committed to education and thus presents innumerable special events, workshops, lectures, concerts and many other activities. The famous Philadelphia Craft Show is a product of the Museum. Art classes for all ages and interests can enhance the ability of any student, from beginner and up. Sunday Family Programs invite children and their parents to explore special features of the Museum together. Call for a calendar of events and programs.
School Group education has been a focus of the Museum since 1905. Teachers, check out the following examples of previous offerings. Many additional programs will be found on the Museum's official website, linked above:
Perception Games (grades K - 3) features treasure hunts, games, and visual activities to help youngsters learn about art. The following are for grades 4 - 6: Arms and Armor explores the Museum's collection, including handling some pieces, to illustrate the hows and whys of Renaissance armor. Art of Asia examines architecture, decorative arts, paintings and sculpture. Clues from the Past uses the period rooms, furniture, ceramics, and other objects to introduce students to fashion and lifestyles from other places and times.
The following are for grades 7 - 12: American Art explores the art of our growing nation in the 18th and 19th centuries. European Art from 1100 to 1600 illustrates stylistic changes in painting, sculpture, architecture and armor from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Impressionism introduces students to artists such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and others.
School Groups can also enjoy Self-Guided Tours. Chaperone to student ration is 1:5 for grades K - 6 and 1:10 for grades 7 - 12. Multiple Visit Programs are available for all grade levels, each consisting of up to four museum visits. Special seasonal programs are also available. Teacher Programs include special workshops designed to enhance art education.
The newly renovated Art Deco Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, located across the street from the main building, features new galleries and study centers that showcase some of the Museum's most comprehensive, colorful and cutting edge collections. Visitors will also enjoy the library, with its changing displays of rare books, precious documents and graphic arts. There is a café, a bookstore and other features that contribute to an unforgettable experience at the Museum.
Three blocks away one of the world's finest collections of the sculpture of Auguste Rodin is housed in the beautiful building constructed by Jules E. Mastbaum, Philadelphia movie theater magnate. In 1923 Mastbaum began collecting the works of this great artist, acquiring not only finished bronzes, but plaster studies, drawings, prints, letters, and books.
The Museum opened in 1929 and today features 124 sculptures, including bronze casts of Rodin's greatest works: The Thinker, The Burghers of Calais, Eternal Springtime, and the culminating creation of Rodin's career, The Gates of Hell, which he worked on for nearly forty years.
Tours are Self-Guided. Guided Tours are given on selected days of each month. Call for information. Groups of 15 or more may arrange private tours.
The Fairmount Park Houses
At more than 8,000 acres, Fairmount Park is the largest municipal park in the world. Nestled in the wooded hills of the park are seven eighteenth and nineteenth century houses that were once the homes of eminent Philadelphians.
Groups can tour these homes and enjoy the beautiful architecture and period furnishings, including furniture, silver, and porcelain from the China trade. Special events are also held on the landscaped grounds.
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