The Philadelphia Museum of Art , located in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park , is one of the largest museums in the United States. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year. Originally called the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, it was inspired by the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum) in London.
Widely regarded as a world-class art institution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art includes not only its iconic Main Building, but also the Rodin Museum , Perelman Building, and several other historic sites.
In the over 125 years since its founding, it has grown far beyond the limits originally set for it. Today, the Museum houses over 225,000 works of art encompassing some of the greatest achievements of human creativity, and offers a wealth of exhibitions and educational programs for a public of all ages.
History & Colections
The building was constructed of a golden color stone in the 1920s and recalls the architecture of ancient Greece. On May 10, 1877, exactly one year after the inauguration of the Centennial Exposition, Memorial Hall reopened as a permanent museum.
The museum is arranged historically and features paintings mixed in with period rooms and decorative art. The illumination is provided by electric “skylights” and windows. A giant sculpture of Diana, a former wind vane from the original Madison Square Garden in New York City, dominates the grand stair hall.
In the 18th century, Philadelphia was one of the most important cities in North America and was a center of style and culture. The museum is particularly known for its important collections of Pennsylvania German art, 18th- and 19th-century furniture and silver by early Philadelphia and Pennsylvania craftsmen. The museum houses the most important Eakins collection in the world.
Philadelphia Museum of Art include Asian collections with paintings and sculpture from China, Japan, and India. The European collections, dating from the medieval era to the present, encompass Italian and Flemish early-Renaissance masterworks, strong representations of later European paintings including French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, sculpture. decorative arts , tapestries , furniture. The museum also houses the second-largest collection of arms and armor in the United States.
Each year the Museum puts on 15 to 20 special exhibitions and is visited by 800,000 people. Some of the larger and more famous special exhibitions, which have attracted hundreds of thousands of people from every state and around the world, include shows featuring Paul Cezanne (in 1996, attracting 548,000 ) and Salvador Dali (in 2005, attracting 370,000).
In the main building’s sweep of 200 captivating galleries, visitors find many surprises and changing exhibitions. There are striking Renaissance master paintings, elaborately carved stone altarpieces, and entire period rooms and architectural settings from around the world. The American collections range from fine examples of revolutionary-period furniture to the paintings of Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins. From the world-renowned collections of French Impressionism, visitors enter the striking suite of galleries dedicated to modern and contemporary art.
Philadelphia Museum of Art invites visitors from around the world to explore its renowned collections, acclaimed special exhibitions, and enriching programs, both in person and online.