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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

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Brandywine River Museum of Art Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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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

01

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

George Washington's headquarters tent George Washington's headquarters tent
The Museum of the American Revolution — Photo courtesy 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.

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

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02

Chuck Close Photographs at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

— Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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.

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

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03

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

Exterior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Exterior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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04

Black Pulp! at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

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.

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

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05

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

Boy observing "Crocs" exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences Boy observing "Crocs" exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences
— Photo courtesy Academy of Natural Sciences

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.

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

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06

Cary Leibowitz: Museum Show at the Institute of Contemporary Art

Exterior of the Institute of Contemporary Art Exterior of the Institute of Contemporary Art
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

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.

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

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07

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

Exploring a rather interesting medium for creating art, the Mütter 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: Mütter Museum, 19 S. 22nd Street

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08

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

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.

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

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09

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

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.

Where: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic

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10

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

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.

Where: Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street

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11

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

Painting of landcape by George Weymouth Painting of landcape by George Weymouth
— George A. Weymouth (1936-2016). August, 1974, Tempera on Masonite panel, 48x48in. Gift of George A. Weymouth, 1989.

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.

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

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Opening This Winter

12

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

Leonard Bernstein Leonard Bernstein
— Photo courtesy The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Friedman-Abeles, Billy Rose Theatre Collection; Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

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.

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Parkway 100 Exhibitions

13

Winter Fountains along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Thursday, November 30, 2017 – March 18, 2018

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.

Where: Four points along the Parkway, including the Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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14

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

— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: Moore College of Art & Design, 1916 Race Street

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15

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

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.

Where: Moore College of Art & Design, 1916 Race Street

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Past Exhibitions

16

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

Saturday, September 09, 2017 – February 04, 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.

Where: Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue

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17

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

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Saturday, September 09, 2017 – February 04, 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.

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

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18

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

— Photo courtesy The Rosenbach

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.

Where: The Rosenbach, 2008-2010 Delancey Place

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19

Graphic Women at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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.

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

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20

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

Painting by Gustav Courbet called "Marine" from the Old Masters Now exhibit Painting by Gustav Courbet called "Marine" from the Old Masters Now exhibit
— Marine, 1866. Gustav Courbet, French. Oil on canvas on gypsum board. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

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.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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21

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

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.

Where: Liberty Bell Center, 6th and Market streets

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22

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

— Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

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.

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

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23

Kiefer Rodin at the Barnes Foundation

The Cathedrals of France (Auguste Rodin les Cathédrales de France) painting from Anselm Kiefer The Cathedrals of France (Auguste Rodin les Cathédrales de France) painting from Anselm Kiefer
— Anselm Kiefer. The Cathedrals of France (Auguste Rodin les Cathédrales de France), 2016. Photo: Georges Poncet. © Anselm Kiefer

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.

Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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24

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

Watercolor painting of Washington's headquarters tent. Watercolor painting of Washington's headquarters tent.
— Photo courtesy Museum of the American Revolution

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.

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

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25

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

City Hall exterior City Hall exterior
— Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

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.

Where: Philadelphia City Hall, 15th and Market streets

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Ongoing Exhibitions

General Washington's Headquarters Tent at the Museum of the American Revolution
Chuck Close Photographs at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Black Pulp! at the African American Museum in Philadelphia
Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Cary Leibowitz: Museum Show at the Institute of Contemporary Art
Woven Strands: The Art of Human Hair Work at the Mütter Museum
Tag: Proposals on Queer Play and the Ways Forward at the Institute of Contemporary Art
Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit! at the Please Touch Museum
Those Who Talk Back: Protest Banner Lending Library and U.S. Citizenship Test Sampler at the Asian Arts Initiative
The Way Back: The Paintings of George A. Weymouth at the Brandywine River Museum of Art

Opening This Winter

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

Parkway 100 Exhibitions

Winter Fountains along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Not Ready to Make Nice: The Guerrilla Girls in the Art World & Beyond at Moore College of Art and Design
Kara Springer: Ten Days Before Freedom, A Hymnal at Moore College of Art and Design

Past Exhibitions

A Grand Vision: Violet Oakley and the American Renaissance at the Woodmere Art Museum
A Time to Break Silence: Pictures of Social Change at the James A. Michener Art Museum
Frankenstein and Dracula: Gothic Monsters, Modern Sciences at The Rosenbach
Graphic Women at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Old Masters Now: Rediscovering the John G. Johnson Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Independence and The Great War, 1917-1919 at the Liberty Bell Center
Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute
Kiefer Rodin at the Barnes Foundation
Among His Troops: Washington’s War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor at the Museum of the American Revolution
City Hall: The Design and Architecture of The People’s Building at City Hall
Hotel Deal

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through September 3, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the Museum of the American Revolution, free tickets for a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, free mini-golf and a carousel ride at Franklin Square, free passes to ride the PHLASH Downtown Loop and a $10 Lyft credit.

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