8 Museums in Philadelphia: The Best of the City
Philadelphia is home to a vibrant art and culture scene that spans centuries and continents. From the best museums in Philadelphia, to world-renowned universities, Philadelphia has something for everyone. The city’s art collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Barnes is world-class, as well as rare books like those in The Rosenbach in Rittenhouse. The Mütter Museum is a Medical Brooding Ground for Deadhead Scientists, and the Mummers’ Museum features sequined revelry at its signature event; not to mention an inside look into macabre world of medicine. These 10 best museums in Philadelphia will satisfy any art lover’s appetite with their unique collections.
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is a world-class museum and private art school with over two centuries worth experience. It was founded in 1805, making it both America’s first fine arts institution as well as its oldest such facility still operating under those names today. First, you’ll feel like it’s time to take a step back in history as the grand and historic building welcomes your presence. After that walk outside past Claes Oldenburg’s “Paint Torch”, an oversized paint brush sculpture that will make it seem like Europe is right next door
National Museum of American Jewish History
Founded in 1976 by members of the Mikveh Israel congregation, National Museum of American Jewish History is an important reminder that American independence included religious freedom as one its most valuable tenets. The location on Independence Mall serves as such a powerful lesson for all Americans today. One of the most interesting exhibits in this museum is The Permanent Collection, which includes historical Jewish bulletins and newspapers chronicling immigrants’ lives. Other sections detail life during World War II.
Science History Institute
The Science History Institute is a Philadelphia-based institution that preserves and promotes understanding of the history of science. In addition to housing libraries, museums, archive, research centers & conferences, it also includes a conference center. The Franklin Institute might be the most famous museum for science in Philadelphia, but an insider favorite is Science History Foundation (previously Chemical Heritage Foundation). The science museum is located right in the heart of Old City, on the ground floor of the Institute’s contemporary glass building.
The Rodin Museum houses one of the largest collections outside Paris and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The museum contains roughly 150 objects, including bronzes by Auguste Rodin himself as well as marble sculptures and plasters. You’ll be overwhelmed by the exquisite beauty in this tranquil oasis, where one of France’s greatest collections is on display. It’s hard to imagine a more impressive collection of sculptures than the one on display at The Musée Rodin. There are 150 bronzes, marbles, and plasters both indoors or out with original casts from some of Rodin’s most acclaimed works including perhaps his best-known piece “The Thinker”.
Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution is an architectural treasure, with its Robert A.M Stern-designed building standing sentry over Independence National Historic Park across from it. The exhibit is a refreshing and honest portrayal of Native Americans, African-Americans women. It showcases their overlooked perspectives in history that we all too often whitewash.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia
The African American Museum is located on a quieter stretch of Arch Street surrounded by federal buildings. The museum has an old, the late 1970s feel and features pieces that focus primarily from colonial times to present-day for black Americans’ experiences. The first floor is like a time machine that takes you back in time. The visualizations on these floors tell stories from all walks of life including black Philadelphians at the time of the Revolution. Temporary exhibitions are held on higher floors to give visitors an immersive experience.
Independence National Historic Park
Philadelphia is the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the United States precisely because of its rich history and it’s not just one museum or historic landmark. Rather, this collection points to a time when events transpired that shaped American independence or honored our hard-won heritage with grace & dignity. The Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center are perfect stops for those looking to get their bearings before taking a self guided tour. You can enter every 15 minutes so it doesn’t matter if you’re early or late.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a long and celebrated history. Founded as part of the Centennial Exposition, it first occupied space in an architecture exhibition built for that event before moving to its current location on top Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1928.The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a Pennsylvania icon. Tourists flock to the museum not only because it’s an essential stop for any self-respecting Philadelphian, but also thanks to Rocky and his famous run up those stairs And if you’re looking at visuals whether paintings or sculptures, don’t forget that inside lies one comprehensive 225 000 collection of everything ranging from Japanese teahouses and Chinese palaceshall to Renaissance masterpieces, and much more works by Manet, Monet, and Degas.
Occupying two brownstones in tony Rittenhouse Square is a museum and library located within two 19th-century townhouses. The Rosenbach is an institution in Philadelphia that houses the collections and treasures of Philip Rosenbach, as well as his younger brother Dr. A S W. Rosenbach. The holdings in this museum are among the most extensive and impressive we’ve seen. Visitors can get a look at items including second folio of William Shakespeare’s plays, Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes for Dracula (the only surviving copy), Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard Almanac.
The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is like a giant science lab, albeit one with interactive models of the heart (claustrophobes beware). The layout encourages exploration and learning through play. The layout is very informative and engaging whether you’re stepping on scales to learn how many pints your blood has or climbing nets that mimic brain pathways.
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Make the Most of Your Museum Visit
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