Philadelphia Museum of Art


When was the last time you visited a museum? We're ashamed to admit that too long ago was the answer for our family.  Our move to the suburbs has brought us closer to a wide range of large and small eclectic museums, including the Brandywine River Museum, which houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Andrew Wyeth's historical American art, the Please Touch Museum, aimed at getting children involved with a wide range of physical learning activities,  and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which offers an expansive compilation of classic art across the world, notably Asia, Europe and our fair country. During our recent visit to the Philadelphia Museum, a special exhibit for Van Gogh was on display, which we were eager to see. However, poor planning left us crowded out of the popular exhibit as the required separate admission was sold out. Nonetheless the museum on its own offers a broad array of interesting collections.


Pennsylvania German art and woodwork 
Beautiful glasswork
Dutch Tiles


Amid the sculptures and paintings from Asia, most stunning is the reconstruction of a Japanese garden. On the right hand side is an original Buddhist temple from Japan constructed during the Muromachi period (1392-1573). Believe it or not the entirety of this temple originally existed in the Katagiri village in the Nara prefecture until the Philadelphia museum acquired it in 1928. A beautiful ceremonial Japanese tea house, on the right, also brought from Japan, is constructed of bamboo, wood, metal, stone, and fabric. Imagine taking these babies home for souvenirs! 


We brought along our little boy along holding our breath. How would a one year-old react to the restrained activity of quiet observation and deep analysis? Alex took in the dark rooms and silent hallways with curiosity, initially testing out the acoustics with iterations of screams so that he could hear his voice echo through the halls. He did this like a million times! Although nearly out of everyone's sight, I'm pretty darn sure everyone heard the ruckus. I'm surprised we didn't get kicked out.


Across from the museum and situated before the Schuylkill River is Waterworks, America's first municipal water delivery system which was built in 1812 to provide clean water amid scarcity during the Industrialized Revolution. Most striking about this facility is its classic elegant exterior which disguised the industrial nature of its activities. Waterworks quietly ceased operations in 1909, and today a restaurant remains in its place.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition making it a worthy historical site to visit. If you are in town during the first full weekend of each month you can gain free admission to this museum and others if you present a Bank of America card (although I'm not advocating that you open an account, it's just a tip). Also Sundays are donation days, so you pay what you wish, which also means you can pay above the general admission of $16.  But why do that? Because you are nice and our museums could benefit from it.

18 comments:

Claudia said...

So many museums are just hidden gems. Love the Japanese Garden - although I expect that was from the time when we just stole treasures from other countries! Ahh - little Alex - I imagine some of the hallways were a wee bit scary. I remember the toddler period with two children - going through the Met in NYC and trying to get them to "not touch." They didn't listen. Then a guard scolded them. They listened!

From the Kitchen said...

One of my favorite museums! Thanks for the memories. Alex looks as if he doesn't particularly like that museum piece!!

Best,
Bonnie

Belinda @zomppa said...

It is one of my favorite museums. That face is TOO precious!!

Emily said...

what a lovely museum. i'm a huge history nerd, and i love looking at creative works. if i'm ever in philly, i'll definitely have to visit!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I love museums, but admit we don't go as often as we would like or should. Alex is precious, even when he would rather be somewhere else. We've been in churches in Europe when my husband is anxious and ready to go too. He would scream if he could....
Sam

tasteofbeirut said...

Never been to that one but the San Fransisco one has a Japanese garden and tea room and I loved going there; however, it is courageous to go with a toddler! :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is a great museum, and it's been quite some time since I visited. I will also put in a plug for the Brandywine Museum which is lovely and one of my favorites. I was lucky to catch a tour of NC Wyeth's studio the last time I was there.

Chiara Giglio said...

thanks for sharing ,I love museums, have a good week...

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I'm lucky to have a friend who is a docent at our Milwaukee Art Museum so I get the first opportunity to see special exhibits and hear lectures. Fortunately, my husband loves to visit museums too, especially the Chicago Art Institute.

Even though it can be trying, you are so smart to introduce Alex to museums early :)

lostpastremembered said...

Golly, I haven't been to Philly in years. I'm sure it has changed completely. Too bad too since I am so close... a few hours drive and there I am!
Looks like a great day and I'm with Susan, good to get the little guys in on art soon.

About Last Weekend said...

I love that German wood art, what beautifully crafted things. Love also that pic of your little one portrays perfectly the ups and down of traveling with kiddies

nancy at good food matters said...

Hi Christine, The first-and, to date, only--time I visited Philadelphia, I saw so much amazing art. There was a huge retrospective of Bonnard at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Barnes in nearby Merion was still open to the public (1996, I think.)Spectacular collection!

It's great that you are introducing Alex to the beauty and wonder of these cultural centers--experienceshe will really appreciate in coming years.

Lori said...

Looks like a great museum! We typically always got to museums when we travel abroad, but I have to admit besides Chicago and DC we haven't been to many in the States.

Ana said...

Our museum is indeed a world class art museum. Even though fine art is housed under its roof, the museum itself is named "The Philadelphia Museum of Art."

lisa is cooking said...

We never seem to make time to visit museums near home, but we always try to visit a museum or two when we travel. The Japanese garden is beautiful, and good for Alex to enjoy the echoing halls while he had the chance!

Esi said...

I'm a huge museum fan and I am a member at LACMA in Los Angeles which I miss. Looks like a fun day!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Sounds like a noisy but fun day! :)

We haven't been to a museum in a while. We took the kid to a not very kid-friendly museum last year (he was 3). It was an experience...

Magic of Spice said...

What a great museum...love that garden!