Even if you have never visited Philadelphia, chances are you know what the art museum looks like. When Rocky runs up the stairs in that famous scene, he is doing so on the front stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Having visited here several times before, always to see a specific exhibit, this time was no exception; Salvador Dali is what drew us.
This is one of my very favorite museums in the world. The set up is fascinating to me. We decided after going through the Dali exhibit that we would take one of the tours of the museum. There is a board next to the information desk that will tell you the time and which tour will be offered. You can also pick up a small brochure called Today at the Museum, which will give you a list of all the tours and programs that are happening today. After looking them over, we decided to do a headphone tour. For $5 you have your choice of five tours, we narrowed it down to the Director’s Delights and the Museum Highlights . We allowed ourselves to be lead by the director. The beauty of that choice is you can always stop and do any of the items on the Museum Highlights Tour. Another good thing about Today at the Museum is that it gives you a list of the upcoming exhibits as well as the currently running exhibits.
We began on the second floor with a visit to a 16th century Altar Screen.
Galleries 250-299 cover European art from 1500-1850. That encompasses a variety of art and styles, as well as period rooms. The rooms are my favorites though the Viger LeBrun portrait of Marie Antoinette had me enthralled.
The room that the director takes us to is the Landsdowne Room, which once graced Landsdowne House in London. It has an amazing ceiling and played host to many famous people during its heyday.
As part of our tour, we also visited the early European rooms to see the Van der Weyden Gallery and the Van Eyck painting of St. Francis. It is a difficult painting to find because it is very tiny. Also take time to visit the Hudon bust of Benjamin Franklin; it seems fitting, since this is Philadelphia.
If you get hungry, there is a cafeteria, as well as a more formal restaurant. We stopped only briefly for tea and a cookie, but I have to admit that the salad bar at the cafeteria was very tempting. There are several gift shops, with the main one being in the same area as the restaurants.
We took a taxi to get to the museum; it was $10 with tip from our hotel. We got back down to the Independence Park area on the Phlash for $1. Both ways worked well for us. The Phlash and the taxi pick-up are in the lobby.