Philadelphia Journals

Philadelphia I: Essential Museums

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A June 2005 trip to Philadelphia by Owen Lipsett

Independence Hall Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania More Photos
Quote: In honor of the 229th anniversary of Philadelphia's finest hour, here are five museums that you really shouldn't miss if you visit the self-proclaimed "Cradle of Liberty."

Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Attraction

Philadelphia Museum of Art Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Quote:
Perhaps Philadelphia’s greatest landmark (no mean feat in a city with so many), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) entered the consciousness of non-art lovers everywhere with its starring role as a backdrop to the "Rocky" movies. While the neo-classical hulk at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the views it affords south to the skyscrapers of Center City and west over the Schuykill are justly iconic, even greater beauty is located inside the museum itself. Stepping inside, you’re greeted by a vast hall bisected by a forbidding staircase topped by a sculpture of Diana by August Saint-Gaudens. If the admittedly arduous task of following in Rocky Balboa’s footsteps has left you more ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 4, 2005

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street And The Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130
(215) 235-7469

Rodin Museum

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Attraction | "The Rodin Museum"

Rodin Museum Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Quote:
One might say that the little Rodin Museum is a perfect counterpoint to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which looks down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to this little pavilion on its right (east) side. While the PMA offers breadth, the Rodin Museum can offer it depth in the form of the second-largest collection of the work of the French sculptor August Rodin located outside France. (Pedants and art buffs might be interested to know that as Copenhagen’s Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket is presently closed for renovations, the Rodin Museum’s collection is the largest of its kind outside France that is actually open!) The museum itself and its location in Philadelphia are a testament to the collect...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 4, 2005

Rodin Museum
2201 Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street
Philadelphia

National Constitution Center

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Attraction

National Constitution Center Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Quote:
This superb museum opened on July 4, 2004, within sight of Independence Hall, where the United States Constitution, the world’s oldest (not including U.S. state constitutions), was signed in 1787. It presents the history of the American Constitution as well as exploring its legacy. If this description seems a bit broad, that’s deliberate, as the aptly named "Center" isn’t simply a museum in the conventional sense of the word but rather an interactive facility that hosts talks, scholars, and activities, as well as literally taking its show on the road. And a show it is, as the Center’s exhibitions primarily rely on both interactive and multimedia presentations, which serve to make what could otherwi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 4, 2005

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street on Independence Mall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
(215) 409-6600

Independence Hall

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Attraction

Independence Hall Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Quote:
Both the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the United States Constitution (1787) were signed in this attractive Georgian building, constructed between 1732 and 1756 as Pennsylvania's State House. Philadelphia was the intellectual and commercial center of the American Colonies. Its central geographic location and traditions of tolerance and diversity played a major role in this status and are documented in an exhibition within the nearby Second Bank of the United States. Philadelphia was therefore the logical choice as the rebellious colonies’ de facto capital. The first so-called "Continental Congress," at which representatives from the 13 colonies met to formulate their op...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 4, 2005

Independence Hall
500 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
215/597-8974

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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Attraction | "UPenn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology"

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Photo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Quote:
It’s fitting that America’s oldest university should be home to the country’s finest archaeological collection, although the scope of this collection has more to do with Philadelphia’s nineteenth century prosperity than the University of Pennsylvania’s age. The museum’s three floors of galleries, which range in format from tightly-packed cases of classical artifacts to the spacious Chinese rotunda, offer enough to delight visitors of all ages and levels of knowledge and interest. Indeed, the museum’s sheer scope is its only problem, however, even a cursory visit requires several hours. What follows is an entirely personal overview of its collections. The museum is perhaps most famous for its ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 4, 2005

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
+1 215898 4000