When it comes to choosing an activity to do for the day a lot of people would most likely not choose to visit a museum. As a kid it is easy to get bored and who would ever want to voluntarily go to a place that emphasizes being quiet. As an adult, it’s easier to understand the significance of the objects in a museum, but again, many don’t choose visiting one.
Since I was younger, I’ve always had an appreciation for art. When I was in the fourth grade, I began to get bullied and I found art as the “creative outlet” so many people at some point find it to be. Fast forward to high school and my appreciation had grown so much that I elected to take Art History and Sculpture as courses.
Through my studies, I realized that I love art because it showcases one of our best qualities as humans—our creativity. For thousands of years, painters, sculptors, architects, carpenters, and pottery makers have been inspired by the world around them. Their masterpieces add to human culture by showing us the perspective of the artist, which allows us to escape the constraints and limitations of our own minds and experience another’s perspective.
This past week a group of my friends and I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I’ve passed the location when in Philly a few times, but I had never actually been in it. The façade of the museum does not give the objects and history housed in its walls any justice.
Perhaps you are already familiar with the Philadelphia Museum of Art? If you’ve seen any of the Rocky movies, you’ve already seen it. But it turns out that there is more historical significance to the museum then it being the backdrop to Rocky Balboa jogging.
According to the Philadelphia Museum of Art website, the museum was created as a result of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, which was also the first international World’s Fair in the United States. For those that didn’t make the connection, 1876 marked 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Exhibition designers wanted a museum to stand and commemorate the event long after the event was over. To accomplish this, Memorial Hall was created in Fairmont Park.
However, it was not until 1919 that the Main Building, which is what you see today, was started. It took until 1928 for the museum to be open to the public and during its first year, over a million people visited the museum. Today, the museums website boasts that there are over 800,000 visitors to the museum per year, making it one of the largest museums in the United States.
Throughout the year, visitors have the chance to see special exhibits at the museum. I was fortunate enough to see “From Audubon to Warhol” exhibit. What is great about the exhibits is the fact that they give out free audio phones for a personal tour, allowing visitors to go at their own pace.
Admission to the museum is a bit high, but as one of the largest museums in the United States, it is understandably at $20 for adults. The museum has a great policy in which admission is PWYW (Pay What You Want) on the first Sundays of every month. Therefore, admission can be free and this includes any exhibit they have featured that day as well.
As an avid fan of art and art history, I highly recommend going to a museum the next chance you can. Especially with the winter months approaching, many people want to stay indoors. Go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and spend the day wandering around the floors of galleries the museum has to offer.
Also, if you’ve already been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and are looking for something different, I also recommend the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and the National Gallery of Art in D.C., which I like to throw in there is free admission.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Closed on Mondays