One of the country’s largest museums, with hundreds of thousands of objects, a Rodin Museum, renowned impressionist art and a sculpture garden.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a neoclassical building set on a hill overlooking the city. This huge museum displays more than 227,000 objects in 200-plus galleries. From textiles and tools to paintings and photos, the exhibits include art from America, Europe and Asia. The museum complex includes the Rodin Museum, the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden and the nearby Perelman Building.
In the movie Rocky III the fictional boxer played by Sylvester Stallone unveils a bronze statue of himself in front of the museum. Strike a triumphant pose next to this statue, or show you are a winner and run up “The Rocky Steps” to the entrance of the museum, which was built in 1876. The left wing houses Special Exhibitions and American Art, including a tribute to local painter Thomas Eakins. On the second story, you’ll find European art from medieval times to the 1850s. View the objects in life-sized replicas of century-old rooms to appreciate them in their original setting. Military enthusiasts should seek out the extensive armory collection.
The museum showcases many famous masterworks, such as Rubens’ Prometheus Bound, Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny, and Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. For art deco and textile galleries head to the Perelman Building.
Take the free Introduction to the Collection tour, which provides an overview of the museum galleries. There are also free downloadable audio podcasts on specific topics. Two-day tickets are available for art and history enthusiasts who want to take their time to explore all galleries. The museum also offers tours of some of the preserved colonial houses in Fairmount Park. Visit the bistro or cafeterias to recharge in between browsing.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is in Fairmount Park on the hill at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Main and Perelman Building are open Tuesday to Sunday, and the Rodin Museum is open from Wednesday to Monday.