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Major Openings & Exhibitions In 2012 Keep Philly Fab All Year Long


PHILADELPHIA, September 15, 2011 – 2012 is a year to look backward and forward in the Philadelphia region. In a nod to the past, several of the region’s cultural institutions will showcase globally revered treasures from the worlds of religion and art that date from antiquity to the 20th century. But with eyes focused on the future, the region is also embracing some of the most modern interpretive artwork ever commissioned. Plus, a number of the city’s museums are unveiling major renovations that will enable them to thrive for many years to come. Here are just 12 reasons to visit in 2012:


Relocations, Redesigns, Re-openings & Reuses:

  1. In May, the vast art collections of the Barnes Foundation will complete its $150-million relocation from suburban Merion, Pennsylvania to a spectacular new building on Center City Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, marking the first addition to the Parkway in 60 years. Once in their new home, hundreds of works by Impressionist, post-Impressionist and early modern masters, plus African masks and Pennsylvania Dutch decorative arts, will be on view in a structure that combines the vision of their original owner Dr. Albert Barnes with a contemporary and green execution. The addition of The Barnes Foundation to the Parkway will further cement the boulevard’s status as one of the premier arts and culture corridors in the world. 20th Street & 
    the Benjamin Franklin Parkway,
  2. In July of 2011, the Rodin Museum unveiled its redesigned outdoor sculpture garden, and in spring 2012, museum officials will open the doors to a fully renovated interior. The relocation of many sculptures back to their rightful place in the garden has opened up indoor space for a reconfiguration of existing items, modernized visitor amenities and areas for lively public programming. A highlight of the revamped museum, which is currently closed to the public, 
    will be the main gallery placement of a marble replica of The Kiss. 22nd Street & 
    the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 568-6026,
  3. The May opening of the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent will reveal an extensively revitalized home for a treasure trove of objects that chronicle the everyday lives of three centuries’ worth of Philadelphians. New exhibits showcase everything from 18th-century portraits to 21st-century community movements; installations that explore the city’s craft beer movement; dynamic displays that celebrate Philadelphia sports fanaticism; and stories of the city’s growth using street intersections as a guide. The reconfigured space allows curators to display items rarely or ever before seen, such as Joe Frazier’s boxing gloves, Benjamin Franklin’s wine glass, a Quaker bonnet, the famous Wampum Belt and George Washington’s presidential desk. 15 S. 7th Street, (215) 685-4830,


The 100-year-old Lafayette Building, located on Independence Hall, will find new life as a Kimpton-owned Hotel Monaco beginning in summer 2012. The 10-story structure, currently under renovation, will become a four-star hotel with 271 rooms. When it opens, the hotel will house a bevy of luxury suites, approximately 12,000 square feet of meeting space and a 120-seat restaurant and bar, featuring the largest rooftop lounge in Philadelphia. 5th & Chestnut Streets,

New Events & Exciting Exhibitions:

  1. The life and work of African-American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner will be more fully understood after 2012, thanks to a definitive retrospective of his career that includes the first scientific and technical analysis of his materials and methods. From January 28-April 15, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), presents Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit, a traveling exhibition curated by PAFA staff. The show mounts more than 100 pieces, the two known sculptures Tanner completed, 12 paintings that have never been shown in a Tanner retrospective and his career-making Resurrection of Lazarus, which is making its first trip to the continent. Tanner, who lived in Philadelphia after the Civil War, studied at PAFA. 
    118-128 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600,
  2. 2012 promises to be a banner year for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is hosting a series of major exhibitions. A sure-to-be blockbuster: Van Gogh Up Close, running from February 1-May 6, explores the painter’s deep immersion into nature. In spring, it’s Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia, an exhibition that brings together masterpieces from the three artists for the first time. It runs from June 20-September 3. 26th Street & 
    the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100,
  3. The Academy of Natural Sciences celebrates its bicentennial with a year-long schedule of festive events, educational programs and a centerpiece exhibition that honors two centuries of the Academy’s groundbreaking scientific discoveries. In The Academy at 200: The Nature of Discoveryvisitors will see how scientists discover new species, learn how humans are impacting their environment and find out how to help the Academy fulfill its mission to shape a sustainable future. The exhibition o
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