Philadelphia’s museums usher in a busy summer season with a variety of exciting exhibitions.
The Brandywine River Museum of Art explores the wonders of nature, while the National Liberty Museum uses a display of glass art to explore the mysteries of outer space.
Additionally, this season’s exhibitions at the Mercer Museum and the Woodmere Art Museum are all about racing — the former covers Bucks County’s fascinating racing history and the latter examines the photography of Darryl Moran, NASCAR’s first official photographer.
The Museum of the American Revolution‘s new permanent exhibition offers an immersive look into Philadelphia’s colonial life by recreating 18th-century taverns, churches, military encampments and more using interactive multimedia displays.
Other exhibits on display throughout the summer highlight Leonard Bernstein, Alexander Hamilton, video games, human hair, Marian Anderson and bugs.
Intrigued? Read on for our picks of must-see exhibitions throughout the summer in Philadelphia.
Ever wondered what it was like to live in Philadelphia 200 years ago? In this new immersive exhibit for kids and families at the Museum of American Revolution, four places of importance from 18th century Philadelphia are recreated: a military encampment, a tavern, an 18th-century church and an 18th-century parlor. Within each recreated historic place, visitors can find interactive displays, multimedia experiential setups and replica objects from the Revolutionary era.
Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
Through a series of projects and events, The Age of Alchemy attempts to debunk myths about the field of alchemy and how alchemists used their craft to heal the human body. The exhibition includes a chance to play an immersive video game set inside an early modern laboratory.
Where: Science History Institute, 315 Chestnut Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Mana Contemporary Chicago (@manacontemporarychicago) on Mar 1, 2018 at 10:24am PST
A post shared by Mana Contemporary Chicago (@manacontemporarychicago) on Mar 1, 2018 at 10:24am PST
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, an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The six-month exhibition was organized and curated by artist Nayland Blake.
Where: Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Katia (@katia.schwarz) on Jun 22, 2018 at 3:02pm PDT
A post shared by Katia (@katia.schwarz) on Jun 22, 2018 at 3:02pm PDT
Artist Suki Seokyeong Kang’s Black Mat Oriole uses sculpture, painting and video to inspire viewers to think about how space is used and defined in systems of power and cultural customs. The Last Place They Thought Of examines the effects of racial, sexual and economic exploitation on our perception of geography and environment.
Where: Institute of Contemporary Art,118 S. 36th Street
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.
Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E.
The Franklin Institute celebrates the genius and popularity of more than 30 game design innovators in an interactive setting in Game Masters. Visitors can play more than 100 video games, ogle original, transformative artwork, learn the stories behind celebrity characters, watch interviews with gaming pioneers and delve into both classic arcade diversions and immersive multiplayer experiences.
Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates and explores the energetic first half of America’s 20th century in an exhibition featuring vibrant, essential modern works by Georgia O’Keefe, Horace Pippin, Paul Strand, Marsden Hartley and more revolutionary artists.
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Parkopolis: May 25 – September 3, 2018
Hello from Japan!: May 26 – September 3, 2018
The Please Touch Museum offers two fun exhibits for the kiddos to enjoy all summer. In Parkopolis, the museum has partnered with Temple University to create a life-size board game for guests to play, aimed at introducing children to STEM learning. The exhibition also includes two life-size dice tumblers, a life-size card deck and more. In Hello from Japan!, guests learn about Japanese culture through immersive activities like singing karaoke, playing cashier at a Japanese restaurant and reading traditional Japanese kami stories.
Where: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic
This Barnes Foundation exhibition explores the relationship between impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir and master filmmaker Jean Renoir by juxtaposing the father’s paintings and drawings with the son’s films, costumes, photos and ceramics. Sylvie Patry, consulting curator at the Barnes, curated the exhibition. It is organized by the Barnes and the Musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, Paris, in collaboration with La Cinémathèque française, Paris.
Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Philadelphia Museum of Art (@philamuseum) on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:34pm PDT
A post shared by Philadelphia Museum of Art (@philamuseum) on Jun 7, 2018 at 3:34pm PDT
The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 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.
Did you know that Bucks County has an exciting history of racing? The Mercer Museum’s spring and summer exhibition takes a look at the timeline of all kinds of races that took place in the area, from Native American footraces to the auto speedway races of today. The exhibit includes original cars, vintage cycling gear and interactive opportunities for guests to test their racing skills.
Where: Mercer Museum, 84 S. Pine Street, Doylestown
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.
Where: The Mutter Museum at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 19 S. 22nd Street
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
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
Cultures in the Crossfire at the Penn Museum explores the rich cultures, diverse populations and deep history of one of the world’s most turbulent regions. Modern works by Syrian-born artist Issam Kourbaj stand next to ancient artifacts; together, they tell stories of everyday life and global contributions, upheavals and peace, despair and hope. Additionally, the first of the museum’s extensive renovations begins where it all began, with America’s first archaeological expedition to the Middle East in the 1880s. The restored and renovated 6,000-square-foot Middle East Galleries recounts humanity’s nearly 10,000-year-long journey from villages to cities through 1,400 artifacts, in addition to video and interactive stations.
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
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
The Brandywine River Museum of Art welcomes summer with an 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 between humans and nature, including species extinction and the over-cultivation of wilderness.
Where: Brandywine River Museum of Art, 1 Hoffmans Mill Road, Chadds Ford
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a treat in store for photography lovers this summer. The museum’s summer 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.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts presents its main summer exhibition featuring the work of artists Didier William and Nestor Armando Gil. SWARM uses mediums like painting, collage, sculpture, performance and more to encourage guests to “swarm” conceptions of colonialism in an attempt to disarm it and other power narratives.
Where: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street
The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers special programming for kids and their families during ArtSplash, which explores mediums and themes present in the museum’s Modern Times exhibition and teaches youngsters about sculpture, portraiture and landscape through hands-on art projects. Activities include building mini-cities inspired by those seen in Modern Times, participating in color mixing workshops and helping build a LEGO sculpture of the museum.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by National Liberty Museum (@nationallibertymuseum) on May 12, 2018 at 11:47am PDT
A post shared by National Liberty Museum (@nationallibertymuseum) on May 12, 2018 at 11:47am PDT
The National Liberty Museum’s summer exhibition uses a showcase of glass art to start a conversation about outer space and our relationship with it, covering topics like extraterrestrial beings, intergalactic discoveries and space travel.
Where: National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street
Start your engines! This summer, 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 Michener Museum of Art features some of artist Henry Snell’s drawings and watercolors this summer. Most of the collection of work, created during his travels to Cornwall, have never been exhibited at the museum, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to look into the museum’s vaults!
Philadelphia artist Dowell shares large-scale photographs, sculpture and an installation — all reflections of his pilgrimage to the rural South, his exploration of cotton’s far-reaching and often tragic history with African-Americans at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street
The Moore College of Art & Design celebrates work by its recent alums with a two-month exhibition. It features over 50 works in several mediums and represents the programs offered at the college, including Fashion and Design, Illustration, Photography & Digital Arts and more.
Where: Moore College of Art & Design, 1916 Race Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sheena Bediako (@sheena_beena) on Jun 24, 2018 at 4:52am PDT
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, from bronzes and plasters to a life-size, breathtaking replica of The Kiss.
Where: Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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. Other artifacts help spark discussion around how art, faith, science and community reside together on the grand corridor.
Where: Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street
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.