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25 Must-See Exhibitions in Philadelphia for Winter 2018

Renaissance masterworks, 2,000-year-old clay statues, monsters, crocodiles and more

Warm up inside at one of Philly’s spectacular museums this winter season.

Special exhibitions are set to unfold at venues citywide, featuring subjects that range from the 1960’s counterculture movement (Philadelphia Museum of Art) to live crocodiles (Academy of Natural Sciences) to Frankenstein and Dracula (The Rosenbach).

Four different exhibitions will also be on display this winter in celebration of the 100th birthday of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (the city's own Champs-Élysées) as part of Parkway 100, including the lit up Winter Fountains along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and a new photography exhibition at The Galleries at Moore, Moore College of Art and Design.

Elsewhere, find exhibitions designed for kids, a free pop-up at the Liberty Bell Center and more.

Read on to learn about all of our must-see exhibition picks in Philadelphia this winter.

Ongoing Exhibitions | Opening This Winter | Parkway 100 Exhibitions


Ongoing Exhibitions

General Washington's Headquarters Tent at the Museum of the American Revolution

The Museum of the American Revolution houses the tent that General George Washington kept as his headquarters during the Revolutionary War. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution)

Ongoing

The drama unfolds exhibit by exhibit at the new Museum of the American Revolution. Just two blocks from Independence Hall — the command center for the Revolution — the newest addition to America’s most historic square mile documents the strategic wins, crushing losses and world-altering consequences of the war for We the People. Visitors learn stories of well-known and everyday people who experienced the tumult through galleries, engaging films and a collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, diaries and works of art, including General Washington's Headquarters Tent, an iconic piece of history where the commander slept and made world-changing decisions.

More about the Museum of the American Revolution

A Grand Vision: Violet Oakley and the American Renaissance at the Woodmere Art Museum

Through Sunday, January 21, 2018

American Renaissance luminary Violet Oakley contributed to Pennsylvania’s and the nation’s artistic expressions over her 50-year career. On display at the Woodmere Art Museum, the first showcase of her work in three decades focuses on her public commissions: designs for her murals, stained glass and portraits displayed in civic buildings, churches and schools.

More about A Grand Vision

A Time to Break Silence: Pictures of Social Change at the James A. Michener Art Museum

Through Sunday, February 4, 2018

Photographs document protest and political and social change; they also shape our view of our current and historic culture. Bucks County’s James A. Michener Art Museum stages this display of images in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s controversial speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” in which the civil rights leader called for military spending in Vietnam to be redirected to ending poverty.

More about A Time to Break Silence

Frankenstein and Dracula: Gothic Monsters, Modern Sciences at The Rosenbach

The Rosenbach

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein with an exhibition at The Rosenbach. (Photo courtesy The Rosenbach)

Through Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Rosenbach celebrates the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein with an interactive exhibition featuring pages from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein manuscript alongside the institution’s collection of Bram Stoker’s Dracula notes. Frankenstein and Dracula: Gothic Monsters, Modern Sciences also looks at literature detailing the scientific and ethical questions of the time to examine why authors may have felt compelled to draw monsters into stories.

More about Frankenstein and Dracula

Graphic Women at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Through Sunday, February 18, 2018

More than 30 charcoals, pastels, illustrations and watercolors usually not displayed because of their delicate nature comprise this exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Presented in conjunction with A Grand Vision at the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill, the rare display features the works of female Philadelphia artists Violet Oakley, her teacher Cecilia Beaux and their contemporaries Mary Cassatt, Susan MacDowell Eakins and others.

More about Graphic Women

Old Masters Now: Rediscovering the John G. Johnson Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gustav Courbet's painting

Get a fresh look at the collection John G. Johnson gave to the City of Philadelphia 100 years ago. (Marine, 1866. Gustav Courbet, French. Oil on canvas on gypsum board. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.)

Through Monday, February 19, 2018

Described by The New York Times as “the greatest lawyer in the English-speaking world,” John G. Johnson bequeathed his 1,500 European artworks to Philadelphia in 1917. This Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibit focuses on the amazing collection and its collector, who lived during a time when Philadelphia was a manufacturing and financial leader. Visitors to the museum see familiar names, including Botticelli, Bosch, Titian, Rembrandt and Monet.

More about Old Masters Now

Independence and The Great War, 1917-1919 at the Liberty Bell Center

Through Wednesday, February 28, 2018

At the Liberty Bell Center, explore a free exhibition detailing the Liberty Bell’s role during World War I. Learn about how both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall became symbols of liberty on both the national and international stage.

more about Independence and The Great War

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

Check out 10 stunning Terracotta Warriors at The Franklin Institute's blockbuster exhibition. (Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute)

Through Sunday, March 4, 2018

In 1974, a farmer digging a well in China struck one of history’s most significant archaeological discoveries: thousands of life-sized warrior sculptures that had been guarding the tomb of China’s first emperor since 210 B.C. Ten of the mysterious structures and 170 related artifacts, including weapons, jade and gold ornaments and ceremonial vessels, are on view at The Franklin Institute for an exhibition that examines the story, craft and science behind the terracotta army. Philadelphia is one of just two cities hosting the exhibit.

More about Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor

Kiefer Rodin at the Barnes Foundation

Explore works from Auguste Rodin — and the response to those works by artist Anselm Kiefer — during Kiefer Rodin. (Anselm Kiefer. The Cathedrals of France (Auguste Rodin les Cathédrales de France), 2016. Photo: Georges Poncet. © Anselm Kiefer)

Through Monday, March 12, 2018

That Auguste Rodin’s work stands the test of time is clearly evident in this Barnes Foundation exhibition. Rodin’s sculptures and drawings display alongside contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer’s new, large-scale illustrated books, sculptures and paintings — all inspired by Rodin’s work. Presented in collaboration with the Musée Rodin in Paris, the showcase is part of #Rodin100, marking 100 years since the artist’s death (November 17, 1917) with exhibits and programming at major art museums.

More about Kiefer Rodin

Chuck Close Photographs at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Chuck Close Photographs

Chuck Close Photographs features 90 of Close's iconic images, featuring works from 1964 through today. (Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts)

Through Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts features 90 images from the career of eminent American artist Chuck Close in the first such comprehensive survey of Close’s barrier-breaking photography. The exhibition spans 1964 through today and includes the artist’s iconic black-and-white maquettes, massive composite Polaroids, small daguerreotypes and recent nudes.

More about Chuck Close Photographs



Opening This Winter

Among His Troops: Washington’s War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor at the Museum of the American Revolution

Watercolor of a wartime depiction of George Washington's headquarters tent

This winter, check out a rare wartime depiction of George Washington's headquarters tent at the new Museum of the American Revolution. (Photo courtesy Museum of the American Revolution)

January 13 – February 19, 2018

One of the indisputable highlights of the Museum of the American Revolution, George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters tent will be complemented this winter by a new, special exhibition featuring a 235-year-old, seven-foot panoramic painting. The watercolor depicts a 1782 Continental Army encampment and contains the only known wartime depiction of Washington’s headquarters tent, amidst hundreds of other military tents spread out across the lower Hudson Valley. The special exhibition will also bring together other works of art, weapons and artifacts from the Revolutionary War to explore the history surrounding the newly discovered painting.

More about Among His Troops

Woven Strands: The Art of Human Hair Work at the Mutter Museum

January 19 - July 12, 2018

Exploring a rather interesting medium for creating art, the Mutter Museum presents Woven Strands: The Art of Human Hair Work. The exhibition displays how human hair was employed as a textile in four different art- and jewelry-making techniques utilized in the Victorian era. A popular medium for creating folk art in the 18th and 19th century, human hair was once used to form flower bouquets, wreaths, braided jewelry chains, painted scenes of mourning and more, some of which can be viewed in this rare curated collection.

More about Woven Strands

The Way Back: The Paintings of George A. Weymouth at the Brandywine River Museum of Art

August by George Weymouth

This landmark exhibition features dozens of painter George Weymouth's best works. (George A. Weymouth (1936-2016). August, 1974, Tempera on Masonite panel, 48x48in. Gift of George A. Weymouth, 1989.)

January 27 - June 3, 2018

The Way Back: The Paintings of George A. Weymouth, a landmark exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, displays approximately 65 of Weymouth’s best works of art. Mentored by close friend Andrew Wyeth, Weymouth used watercolor and egg tempera to create both powerful portraits and landscapes.

More about The Way Back

Those Who Talk Back: Protest Banner Lending Library and U.S. Citizenship Test Sampler at the Asian Arts Initiative

February 2 - April 6, 2018

Those Who Talk Back: Protest Banner Lending Library and U.S. Citizenship Test Sampler creates an interactive library at the Asian Arts Initiative where visitors can check out and return protest banners in a manner comparable to the transaction of checking out books. The fabric banners are designed to represent the voices of citizens, non-citizens, immigrants, the disenfranchised and all others who seek to share both opinions of dissent and aspirations for the world.

Those Who Talk Back

Black Pulp! at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

February 2 - April 29, 2018

The African American Museum in Philadelphia presents an International Print Center New York exhibition that displays works — including comic books — by artists, graphic designers, writer and publishers who share perspectives on black identity from 1912 to 2016.

Cary Leibowitz: Museum Show at the Institute of Contemporary Art

Institute of Contemporary Art

The Institute of Contemporary Art hosts artist Cary Leibowitz's first solo museum exhibition starting in February. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

February 2 - March 25, 2018

Known for creating bold, bright and comical text-based art, Cary Leibowitz takes centerstage in the Institute of Contemporary Art’s new winter exhibition, marking the first comprehensive survey and solo museum exhibit of Leibowitz’s work. Organized in close coordination with the artist, the display features nearly 350 pieces, including paintings, fabric works, installations, photography and more, all created between 1987 and the present day.

More about Cary Leibowitz: Museum Show

Tag: Proposals on Queer Play and the Ways Forward at the Institute of Contemporary Art

February 2 - August 12, 2018

Examine how the expanding roles of digital and online technologies, fandom and subcultures influence queer identification and personal expression in Tag: Proposals on Queer Play and the Ways Forward, a new exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The six-month exhibition was organized and curated by artist Nayland Blake.

More about Tag: Proposals on Queer Play and the Ways Forward

Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art's new exhibition includes a collection of 1960s counterculture art. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

February 3, 2018 - September 9, 2018

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s newest exhibition, Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey, showcases a wide spectrum of passionate works of art produced in the 1960s, ranging from vintage rock ‘n’ roll posters to anti-war expressions to Pop Art creations. Works from designers, artists and architects will be on display in this exploration of counterculture art.

More about Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey

Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit! at the Please Touch Museum

February 3 – May 6, 2018

PBS KIDS TV series Sid the Science Kid comes to life at the Please Touch Museum, where an interactive exhibition invites kids to step into Sid’s world and scope out the answers to everyday science questions. Little ones will navigate their way through Sid’s home, the Super Fab Lab and the playground while playing the role of mini scientists.

More about Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit!

Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

the Crocs exhibit at the academy of natural sciences

Explore the history of some of the world's most resilient reptiles in an exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences. (Image courtesy the Academy of Natural Sciences)

February 3 - May 6, 2018

Live crocodilians descended from 200-million-year-old ancestors star in an Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University exhibition featuring a live Siamese crocodile, an Albino American alligator, 3D animation and more. The three-month exhibition will also teach visitors how to speak “croc” and explore how crocs communicate via sight, sound, smell and touch.

More about Crocs

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music at the National Museum of American Jewish History

leonard berstein conducting

The National Museum of American Jewish History marks Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday with a special exhibition. (Photo courtesy The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Friedman-Abeles, Billy Rose Theatre Collection; Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations)

March 16 – September 2, 2018

Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music at the National Museum of American Jewish History celebrates the composer’s 100th birthday by focusing on Bernstein’s life as an American Jew who lived through World War II, the Holocaust, Vietnam and social change. A mix of historic artifacts, sound installations, film and interactive media bring Bernstein’s fascinating story to life.

More about Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music



Parkway 100 Exhibitions

Winter Fountains along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Through Sunday, March 18, 2017

Artist Jennifer Steinkamp created Parkway 100’s centerpiece exhibition, which lights the boulevard at night this winter. Inspired by the Parkway’s fountains and horticulture, dramatic video scenes project onto four large domes measuring 13 feet high and 26 feet wide. The Association for Public Art commissioned the outdoor art display.

More about Winter Fountains

City Hall: The Design and Architecture of The People’s Building at City Hall

City Hall

The city's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia's exhibition explores City Hall's history and beautiful design in an exhibition this winter. (Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia)

Through Monday, January 26, 2018

City Hall represents Philadelphia’s political center, and it stands as an artistic marvel and symbolic icon. The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia stage an exhibition that presents the history and design of City Hall and explores its role as a government building, the city’s largest work of art and the iconic anchor to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The display includes photographs, postcards, drawings, manuscripts and other artifacts.

More about City Hall: The Design and Architecture of The People’s Building

Not Ready to Make Nice: The Guerrilla Girls in the Art World & Beyond at Moore College of Art and Design

The Galleries at Moore

Learn about the Guerrilla Girls' influence around the world at this display at the Moore College of Art and Design. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

January 20 - March 17, 2018

Not Ready to Make Nice: The Guerrilla Girls in the Art World & Beyond at Moore College of Art and Design examines the Guerrilla Girls’ artistic and activist influence around the world. The exhibition features both iconic campaigns from the 80’s and 90’s as well as seldomly scene international projects from the group of anonymous feminist female activists.

More about Not Ready to Make Nice

Kara Springer: Ten Days Before Freedom, A Hymnal at Moore College of Art and Design

January 20 - March 17, 2018

A new photography exhibition heads to The Galleries at Moore featuring works by visual artist and industrial designer Kara Springer. Entitled Kara Springer: Ten Days Before Freedom, A Hymnal, the installation presents images of Fox Hill in Nassau, a historic site said to be the last village to receive the news of emancipation in the Bahamas.

More about Kara Springer: Ten Days Before Freedom, A Hymnal




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