The Barnes Foundation
Philadelphia PA 19130
- Mon: 11am-5pm
- Wed: 11am-5pm
- Thu: 11am-5pm
- Fri: 11am-5pm
- Sat: 11am-5pm
- Sun: 11am-5pm
The Barnes Foundation is one of the most storied art collections in Philadelphia. Originally founded by wealthy scientist Albert C. Barnes in 1922, the private, world-class collection of Modern and post-Impressionist paintings by the likes of Picasso, Cezanne, Renoir, and Matisse was intended as an educational endeavor. Originally located in a mansion in Merion, PA, it's controversial move to Center City Philadelphia is chronicled in the 2009 documentary film The Art of the Steal.
Parking and Public Transportation at the Barnes Foundation
The main collection is located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City Philadelphia and accessible through many forms of public transportation. Philadelphia's SEPTA bus lines 7, 32, 33, 38 and 48 all stop at the foundation. The PHLASH trolley, which services popular tourist destinations in the city, also stops at the Barnes.
If you're driving, take I-676 to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway exit. Parking is limited and first-come, first-served.
Admission to the Barnes Foundation
Adults tickets are $25 on weekends, $22 on weekdays (the foundation is closed on Tuesdays). Seniors 65 and older are $23 on weekends, $20 on weekdays. Students with a valid ID and children 6-18 are $10 every day, and children 5 and under are free. Admission includes a downloadable audio tour.
Like its neighbor, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation also offers free admission on the first Sunday of every month. Tickets are limited so make sure to arrive early.
Must See/Do at the Barnes Foundation
The Foundation's Center City location replicates the interior design/aesthetic of the original mansion in Merion, PA, so while the collection is extensive, artwork is nearly layered on top of each other, creating a dense, compact experience which can be overwhelming but won't exhaust you.
Themed guided tours are available daily, and the foundation will frequently run discounts for these on weekdays. If you're interested in a more immersive experience, check out the foundation's expansive list of art workshops and classes.
Other Places to Visit Near the Barnes Foundation
Philadelphia has a wealth of great museums, from the nearby Philadelphia Museum of Art to the National Museum of American Jewish History to the outright weird in the Mütter Museum. For a little shopping and dining afterwards, head to the Rittenhouse Square area of Center City.
Insider tips for visitors to the Barnes Foundation
Book ahead to make sure you can visit at the time you want, as space is limited. Like many art galleries in Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation participates in First Fridays, where live music, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres are available as you peruse the collection in the evening.
Author's bio: Jeff Birou is an education administrator by day, travel and freelance writer by night. You can find him at his blog, Lance+Jeff, or on Twitter at @lanceandjeff.