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.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Philadelphia Museum of Art (@philamuseum) on Aug 20, 2018 at 12:23pm PDT
A post shared by Philadelphia Museum of Art (@philamuseum) on Aug 20, 2018 at 12:23pm PDT
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
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
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
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Woodmere Art Museum (@woodmereart) on Jul 12, 2018 at 6:52pm PDT
A post shared by Woodmere Art Museum (@woodmereart) on Jul 12, 2018 at 6:52pm PDT
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
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
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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A post shared by ICA Philadelphia (@icaphiladelphia) on Sep 5, 2018 at 9:38am PDT
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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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A post shared by Sheena Bediako (@sheena_beena) on Jun 24, 2018 at 4:52am PDT
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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A post shared by Les Ateliers Creatifs (@nathylux) on Sep 1, 2018 at 8:44pm PDT
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
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
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.
Grand openings, seasonal celebrations, arts showcases and more come to Philly this fall