I love this little museum specializing in Philadelphia area artists. It’s small, but has some great spaces:
Three rooms have been restored to their Victorian glory, including one with a display of reproduction electric lights. It’s always cool to see art hanging as it was originally intended – in this case, big, beautiful canvasses in ornate frames against Victorian decoration.
The large, main gallery has a balcony accessed by a wrought iron spiral staircase (no one under 10 allowed on balcony):
Most of the art is in galleries with rotating exhibits, but the exhibits always focus on art and artists connected to Philadelphia. They have several pieces by my favorite Philadelphia artist, the impressionist Walter Schofield.
He often painted views of Wissahickon Creek, just down the road from the museum.
One recent display is the gallery of art by Violet Oakley, the first women to receive the Gold Medal of honor from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The c. 1911 murals on display are from the entrance hall and music room of a demolished Philadelphia mansion.
This museum is very accessible and fun for kids. They often have kid-friendly exhibits and classes, plus an outdoor hay bale maze in the fall and fun outdoor sculpture.
How adorable are these watercolors from a 2018 exhibit??
A 2021 holiday show of local department store, Wanamaker’s, vintage holiday displays by John Winters, chief artist from 1948 to 1973:
Kids and students are always free. Adults are $10 (free for everyone on Sundays). They also offer movie nights, jazz concerts, etc..
Another plus for visiting with kids: the museum is only 1/2 mile (drive – the road is not walker-friendly) to Wissahickon Creek. There are 2 parking areas on Bell’s Mill Road, where you can access trails along the creek – either on the wide gravel Forbidden drive trail or the rougher dirt path (https://secretsofphiladelphia.com/2018/10/29/garnet-collecting-along-the-wissahickon-creek/).
Tobey says: If I have to get dragged to a museum, this is a fun one.
Location: Chestnut Hill. Near Morris Arboretum and Germantown.