Philadelphia Museum of Art: Rediscovering the largest art museum in the US

Posted in North America | May 24, 2010 | 1

There are plenty of museums in the United States, but this one will take your breath away. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the US that lies at the western border of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the Fairmount Park of Philadelphia. This beautiful museum was established in the year 1876 by combining the Centennial Exposition of the same year.

Originally, this museum is recognized as the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. South Kensington Museum was inspired at the founding of this museum. The South Kensington Museum is located in London and the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art has today become the Victoria and Albert Museum that erupted out of the Great Exhibition of the year 1851. During that time, the museum was housed in the Memorial Hall of the Centennial Exposition that was opened its doors to the public on 10 May 1877. Even though, the site was adequate, the museum situated at the remote area from the huge majority of the inhabitants of the city.

The present building was started its construction work in the year 1919 at the time when Mayor Thomas B. Smith put down the cornerstone in a Masonic ceremony on the former reservoir land of the uncharged Fairmount Water Works that covered 10 acres of the land. The first section of the building was finished constructing in the early 1928. You will be amazed by seeing the pediment that faces the parkway and is adorned with the sculptures that depicts the gods as well as goddesses. It was sculpted by C. Paul Jennewein. Besides this, there is a huge collection of griffins that were taken as the representation of the museum during the 1970s.

The institution today is portraying itself as among the largest museums in the United States that has an extensive compilation of over 225,000 objects. The museum houses more than 200 galleries that spanned some 2,000 years. Well, the museum does not have any kind of galleries that are devoted to the Egyptian, Pre-Columbian, or the Roman art. So you have to gain lots of energy to explore almost all of the galleries in the museum that offers different experiences for the lifetime. The reason behind not devoting any galleries to the earlier period is just due to a partnership between this museums’s along with the University of Pennsylvania that had been performed early in the history of the museum.

The University has also loaned its collection of Chinese Porcelain to the Museum and on the other hand, the museum has loaned its most of the Roman, Pre-Columbian, as well as the Egyptian pieces to the University. Even though, the Museum still holds some of the important pieces for the special exhibitions. Every single year, the museum puts 10-20 special exhibitions that are visited by nearly 800,000 people from around the world. Few of the larger as well as more renowned special exhibitions of the museum that have drawn hundreds and thousands of people from all the states and also from all over the world are:

  • The shows that features Paul Cezanne in the year 1996 and attracted 548,000 and is still ongoing
  • The Salvador Dali – started in the year 2005 and attracts some 370,000 people

The museum is highly considered as an excellent art institution that not only includes its iconic Main Building, but also offers the amazing Rodin Museum, along with many other historical sites that will lure you completely. Apart from this, the newly acquired building named as the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building located across the street from the Main Building was actually opened in the year 2007. This building houses its objects for the public display. It is among some of the museums that boast the more popular collections.

As the Philadelphia Museum of Art gained immense popularity and also the overflowing of collections, the museum was about to expand. This announcement was made on October 2006 and was also declared that Frank Gehry would be designing the expansion project further. Well, plans are on, but may take long time with the cost of $500 million. The date for the construction is yet to be announced. After the expansion project has been done, you will be enjoying much more masterpieces of painting, decorative arts, paintings, architecture from Europe, Americas, and also of Asia. No wonder, there will be lot to see, but you might run short of time to explore the complete attraction of the United States.

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