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25+ Must-See Exhibitions in Philadelphia in Fall 2018

Christian Dior, Vikings, midterm elections and more

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Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia
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In fall 2018, Philadelphia’s museums and attractions allow visitors to get up close and personal with Christian Dior’s hottest designs, travel to the Island of Sodor with Thomas the Tank Engine and hang out with giant animatronic insects.

Those experiences — and many more — make up the stellar lineup of exhibitions on offer this autumn in the City of Brotherly Love.

Elsewhere, The Franklin Institute gives an in-depth look at the Vikings and Mural Arts Philadelphia tackles civic responsibility just before this fall’s midterm elections.

Also, Alexander Hamilton is the star of major exhibitions at two Historic District museums: Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia at the Museum of the American Revolution and Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes that Shaped a Nation at the National Constitution Center.

Other exhibitions highlight Rube Goldberg, race cars, Pennsylvania’s impressionists and more.

Read on for our picks of must-see exhibitions in Philadelphia this fall.

01

Face to Face: Portraits of Artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a treat in store for photography lovers. The museum’s exhibition, Face to Face: Portraits of Artists, displays rare photos of artists and performers of the past 150 years, including Billie Holiday, Georgia O’Keefe and more, and comments on how the photos helped shape the public opinion of the celebrities.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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02

Natural Wonders: The Sublime in Contemporary Art at the Brandywine River Museum of Art

The Brandywine River Museum of Art welcomes fall with their exhibition celebrating the wonder of nature. Natural Wonders: The Sublime in Contemporary Art features works by 13 artists who engage nature in their art, using elements like digital cinema and 3D printing to capture nature’s essence. The artwork also highlights a number of key issues, including species extinction and the over-cultivation of wilderness.

Where: Brandywine River Museum of Art, 1 Hoffmans Mill Road, Chadds Ford

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03

American Moderns: The Legacy of Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest at the Michener Museum of Art

A painting from the Lenfest collection at the Michener Museum of Art A painting from the Lenfest collection at the Michener Museum of Art
— Charles Evans, "Yellow Extraction", ca. 1952, Oil on canvas, H. 40 x W. 46 in, James A. Michener Art Museum, Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest

Artists from the greater Philadelphia region were at the forefront of transforming American art —specifically precisionist and non-objective art — throughout the 20th century. Thanks to Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest’s gift of dozens of works to the Michener Art Museum, this exhibition — the first time the works are on display in a single gallery in more than 30 years — celebrates the contributions of artists such as Charles Frederick Ramsey, Louis Stone and others.

Where: James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown

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04

Fast Lane: The NASCAR Photography of Darryl Moran at the Woodmere Art Museum

Start your engines! In this exhibition, the Woodmere Art Museum displays the photography of Darryl Moran, the first official photographer hired by NASCAR. Head to the museum to get a glimpse of all aspects of a NASCAR race, including those chaotic but exciting race-day moments and intimate shots of the fans.

Where: Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue

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05

Marian: The Philadelphia Story at the Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum

Marian Anderson Museum Marian Anderson Museum
— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

The Marian Anderson Historical Society & Museum — which celebrates the life and legacy of Marian Anderson, a renowned African-American opera singer — currently features Marian: The Philadelphia Story, an exhibition about Anderson’s life in Philadelphia and her impact on the world. Guests can browse a range of Marian Anderson’s own possessions — performance gowns, costumes, photographs — in addition to recordings of some of her greatest performances.

Where: Marian Anderson Historical Society & Museum, 762 Martin Street

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06

Working Conditions at the Asian Arts Initiative

In Working Conditions, artists use performance, painting, video and other mediums to demonstrate how Asian lives are shaped by the concept of labor. This includes examining physical labor such as working in a factory overseas or the emotional labor of dealing with racism. The exhibition invites guests to consider connections between the work of the artist, the meaning of labor on a personal level and the condition of workers around the world.

Where: Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street

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07

Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison and Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It at the Institute of Contemporary Art

The Institute of Contemporary Art welcomes fall with two exhibitions. Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison, is the first major U.S. exhibition showcasing Morton’s work in nearly four decades. This exhibition focuses installations, drawings and sculptures that tackle themes of motherhood, friendship and love. In Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It, Smith imagines a world that is “black, feminist, spiritual, and unabashedly alive” via objects, films and more.

Where: Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th Street

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08

Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

In her exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, artist Yael Bartana puts her own spin on historical narratives in order to comment on current social and political issues.The exhibition displays her film about the fictional Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland And Europe Will Be Stunned, and will include a public performance.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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09

30 Years: Art at the Michener, 1988-2018 at the Michener Museum of Art

An exterior of the Michener Art Museum An exterior of the Michener Art Museum
— Photo courtesy Michener Art Museum

The Michener Museum of Art celebrates its 30th birthday with a special exhibition that includes never-before-seen objects from the museum’s vault, a selection of works curated by local students and a chance to learn just how the museum amassed its collection of more than 3,500 works.

Where: James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown

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10

Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

An exterior of the African American Museum in Philadelphia An exterior of the African American Museum in Philadelphia
— Photo by P. Meyer for Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia artist John Dowell shares large-scale photographs, sculpture and an installation in this exhibition at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Cotton is a reflection of his pilgrimage to the rural South and his exploration of the plant’s far-reaching and often tragic history with African-Americans.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

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11

X-treme Bugs at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Xtreme Bugs exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University Xtreme Bugs exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
— Photo courtesy Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Twenty giant animatronic insects, including a monarch butterfly and a Madagascar hissing cockroach, put a magnifying glass on bugs’ behaviors, motions and sounds in this interactive Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University exhibition.

Where: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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12

And So the Story Goes: Innovation in Storytelling at the Penn Museum

Through Sunday, March 17, 2019

How do different cultures tell stories, and what happens when the way stories are told changes? Student curators at The Penn Museum answer these questions via 15 objects, such as a Javanese shadow puppet, a Native American story knife and more from the museum’s international collection.

Where: Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

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13

Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes that Shaped a Nation at the National Constitution Center

Hamilton exhibition at the National Constitution Center Hamilton exhibition at the National Constitution Center
— Photo by Michael Zorn for the National Constitution Center

It’s no secret that Alexander Hamilton often had a troubled relationship with his fellow Founding Fathers. Through rare artifacts and documents, including Hamilton’s portable writing desk and exact replicas of the pistols used in the famous Hamilton-Burr duel, the National Constitution Center takes a look at these political and personal differences between Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and others — and how these debates proved critical to the making of America.

Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street

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Parkway 100 Exhibitions

14

Rodin’s The Kiss at the Rodin Museum

Now through January 2019

Continuing the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Auguste Rodin’s death, this Rodin Museum installation focuses on the master sculptor’s depictions of romantic love, in bronzes, plasters and a life-size, breathtaking replica of The Kiss.

Where: Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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15

Corridor of Culture: 100 Years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the Free Library of Philadelphia

Now through Friday, November 16, 2018

At the Parkway Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia, photographs and artwork illustrate the creation and use of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway over the last century, and even more artifacts explore how art, faith, science and community reside together on the grand corridor.

Where: Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street

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Opening This Fall

16

The Pennsylvania Landscape in Impressionism and Contemporary Art at the Woodmere Art Museum

The Pennsylvania landscape is the star of the show in this exhibition at the Woodmere Museum of Art. Take a look at how the “Pennsylvania Impressionists” used their home state’s landscape as both a metaphor and an inspiration.

Where: Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue

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17

Thomas and Friends Explore the Rails at the Please Touch Museum

Thomas and Friends exhibit at the Please Touch Museum Thomas and Friends exhibit at the Please Touch Museum
— Photo courtesy Please Touch Museum

All aboard! Head to the Please Touch Museum to take a trip to the Island of Sodor with Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. Don’t miss your chance to build a train set, assemble a train and more.

Where: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic

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18

To the Polls by Mural Arts

Portrait of James Baldwin Portrait of James Baldwin
— Portrait of James Baldwin, by Nilé Livingston. Photo by Conrad Benner.

Opens Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Ten of the city’s top muralists team up to create this pre- midterm election exhibition. With voter registration booths onsite, the exhibition encourages civic engagement and focuses on themes of resilience, equity and empathy.

Where: 440 North 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA

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19

The Art of Rube Goldberg at the National Museum of American Jewish History

Foolish Questions by Rube Goldberg Foolish Questions by Rube Goldberg
— Rube Goldberg, Foolish Questions Postcards, c. 1910. Color postcards. Artwork Copyright © Rube Goldberg Inc.

This fall, the National Museum of American Jewish History displays Rube Goldberg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoons, machine invention drawings and more in the first comprehensive exhibition of his work since 1970.

Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Ml E.

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20

Vikings: Beyond the Legend at The Franklin Institute

Viking ship at The Franklin Institute Viking ship at The Franklin Institute
— Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

A 21-foot replica Viking ship, 600 (!) artifacts,  Norse mythology and more make up Vikings: Beyond The Legend, the newest exhibition at The Franklin Institute. Multimedia and interactive elements help bring the ancient Scandinavian peoples and their complex societies to life.

Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street

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21

Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Calling all fashion fans! Experience designs from the likes of Pierre Cardin, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and more at this fall exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The pieces in the exhibition include daywear, bridal wear and ball gowns and show off the museum’s vast costume collection. Bonus: Many of the pieces are on view for the first time!

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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22

Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist at the Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation The Barnes Foundation
— Berthe Morisot. In England (Eugène Manet on the Isle of Wight), 1875. Oil on canvas. Musée Marmottan Monet, Denis and Annie Rouart Foundation. Photo by Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY.

The Barnes Foundation exhibition presents Morisot’s first U.S. retrospective since 1987 and highlights the bold defiance, keen talent and modern presentation of the only woman artist named alongside impressionists Degas, Monet and Renoir.

Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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23

Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia at the Museum of the American Revolution

Explore Alexander Hamilton’s life in Philadelphia via play in Hamilton was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia at the Museum of the American Revolution. Interactive elements and facilitated games help guests learn about Hamilton’s contributions to the nation and how to apply them to today’s issues.

Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street

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24

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is one of two North American museums to display this comprehensive exhibition of Rina Banerjee’s work. The collections includes Banerjee’s installations, 15 to 20 of her sculptures and a selection of works on paper all centered upon the themes of identity, tradition and culture.

Where: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street

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25

Winslow Homer: Photography and the Art of Painting at the Brandywine River Museum of Art

Winslow Homer is one of the nation’s most famous painters, but did you know that photography influenced some of his drawings? This exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum of Art explores the ways in which Homer used photos to influence his own paintings of major events, including scenes from the Civil War, to paintings of popular attractions like the Catskills and Adirondacks.

Where: Brandywine River Museum of Art, 1 Hoffmans Mill Road, Chadds Ford

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26

River Alive! at the Independence Seaport Museum

Opening in November 2018, this 4,000-square foot exhibition at the Independence Seaport Museum focuses on the Delaware River and how millions of people use it for water, food and recreation. Hands-on experiences such as the Citizen Science Lab and Fisharium teach guests about what lives in the river and the threats to the watershed.

Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard

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Face to Face: Portraits of Artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Natural Wonders: The Sublime in Contemporary Art at the Brandywine River Museum of Art
American Moderns: The Legacy of Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest at the Michener Museum of Art
Fast Lane: The NASCAR Photography of Darryl Moran at the Woodmere Art Museum
Marian: The Philadelphia Story at the Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum
Working Conditions at the Asian Arts Initiative
Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison and Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It at the Institute of Contemporary Art
Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
30 Years: Art at the Michener, 1988-2018 at the Michener Museum of Art
Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past at the African American Museum in Philadelphia
X-treme Bugs at the Academy of Natural Sciences
And So the Story Goes: Innovation in Storytelling at the Penn Museum
Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes that Shaped a Nation at the National Constitution Center

Parkway 100 Exhibitions

Rodin’s The Kiss at the Rodin Museum
Corridor of Culture: 100 Years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the Free Library of Philadelphia

Opening This Fall

The Pennsylvania Landscape in Impressionism and Contemporary Art at the Woodmere Art Museum
Thomas and Friends Explore the Rails at the Please Touch Museum
To the Polls by Mural Arts
The Art of Rube Goldberg at the National Museum of American Jewish History
Vikings: Beyond the Legend at The Franklin Institute
Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist at the Barnes Foundation
Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia at the Museum of the American Revolution
Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Winslow Homer: Photography and the Art of Painting at the Brandywine River Museum of Art
River Alive! at the Independence Seaport Museum
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Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

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