Philadelphia, PA – Get ready to explore the City of Brotherly Love like never before! Philadelphia is home to some of the nation's finest art collections and museums, and culture hounds will rejoice at the opportunity to visit these top-rated attractions.
What Are Some of Philadelphia's Top Museums
From the Philadelphia Museum of Art's 227,000 works to the Barnes Foundation's 1,000-plus pieces, there is something for everyone. Science lovers can test their mettle among the Mütter Museum's medical oddities or walk through a gigantic human heart at the Franklin Institute. And don't forget about the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), which houses an extraordinary collection of American art and items from national and local figures.
1. Philadelphia Museum of Art: An Iconic Sight of Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of America's finest and most iconic sights in Philadelphia. Founded in 1876, it now holds an impressive collection of more than 227,000 pieces of Renaissance, American, Impressionist, and Modern art. The museum is composed of three connected structures designed like Greek temples. Among the highlights are Rogier van der Weyden's diptych Virgin and Saint John and Christ on the Cross; the John G. Johnson Collection, a Renaissance treasure-trove; a large Bathers by Cezanne; and more than 80 period rooms, including a medieval abbey and an Indian temple.
The vast wide staircase leading up to the museum's entrance has been made famous by its iconic role in Rocky. Visitors can channel their inner Sylvester Stallone and jog up the steps with fists pumping - they won't be alone!
For more information about visiting the museum or upcoming events, visit www.philamuseum.org or call 215-763-8100.
2. The Franklin Institute: A Destination for Science Education and Entertainment
The Franklin Institute is a premier destination for science education and entertainment. Named after America's favorite innovator, Benjamin Franklin, the Institute has been ranked as Pennsylvania's most-visited museum since its opening in 1894. Visitors of all ages are invited to explore the Institute's hundreds of interactive, hands-on exhibits. Highlights include a massive, walk-through reproduction of the human heart, Rube Goldberg contraptions on the third floor's energy showcase, and Space Command, which features actual space suits and allows visitors to track their houses via satellite.
The Institute also offers North America's second-oldest planetarium and IMAX theater. With so much to see and do, visitors should plan to spend at least two to three hours exploring all that The Franklin Institute has to offer.
For more information about The Franklin Institute, please visit www.fi.edu or call (215) 448-1200.
3. The Barnes Foundation: Home to One of the World's Most Important Art Collections
The Barnes Foundation is home to one of the world's most important art collections. With over 1,000 works of art, including 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 46 Picassos, 59 Matisses, and works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Bosch, Tintoretto, and Delacroix, among many more. In addition to traditional artworks, the collection includes African tribal masks, Amish hope chests, antique door latches, and many other unique pieces.
The foundation is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am-5 pm, with extended hours until 10 pm on Fridays. For those looking for a free visit or a unique event experience, admission is accessible on the first Sunday of every month.
For more information about The Barnes Foundation and its collection, please visit www.barnesfoundation.org or call 215-278-7200.
4. Philadelphia's Mütter Museum Celebrates 157 Years of Anatomical Oddities
The Mütter Museum, Philadelphia's ode to anatomical oddities, is celebrating its 157th anniversary this month. Since opening its doors in 1863, the museum has been captivating and thrilling visitors with its unique collection of medical curiosities. Housed in a 19th-century building, the museum features an array of awe-inspiringly horrific anomalies. Among these are plaster casts of conjoined twins, the skeleton of a 7'6" man, diseased organs, and a giant 9-foot-long human colon (once filled with 40 lbs. of fecal matter).
The collection originated from the personal artifacts of Philadelphia physician Thomas Mütter, who had collected 1,700 items, including bones, plaster casts, and medical illustrations. In addition to donating these items to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, he also donated $30,000, which was used to add to the collection and turn it into a museum.
Other notable exhibits include part of Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth's thorax, Albert Einstein's brain tissue slides, and a malignant tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland's hard palate.
The Mütter Museum continues to be a popular destination for those looking for an educational yet entertaining experience. For more information about visiting hours and tickets, please visit www.muttermuseum.org or call 215-563-3737.
5. Philadelphia's Iconic Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Celebrates 215 Years of Art History
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is celebrating its 215th anniversary this year. The institution was founded in 1805 and is the nation's first art school and museum. Its Victorian Gothic building is a National Historic Landmark and a work of magnificent art in itself. The museum houses an extraordinary collection of American art and items from national and local figures such as Charles Willson Peale (founder of the Academy), Thomas Eakins, Andrew Wyeth, John Singer Sargent, and Edward Hopper. It also contains Thomas Eakins's masterpiece, the Portrait of Dr. Samuel M. Gross (The Gross Clinic), widely considered by art luminaries as one of the greatest American paintings.
The PAFA building was designed by renowned architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt. It contains columns, friezes, and Moorish influences that make it one of the finest surviving examples of Gothic architecture in America.
PAFA invites visitors to explore its collection while learning more about Philadelphia's rich history in art. To learn more about PAFA or to schedule a visit, please visit www.pafa.org or call 215-972-7600.
Take a journey through time and explore all that Philadelphia has to offer! Whether you are searching for inspiring works of art or curious about medical oddities, add these top museums to your itinerary.