Philadelphia Day 4: The Barnes Foundation Museum

The Barnes Foundation Museum houses the collection of yet another wealthy industrialist, Dr. Albert Barnes –thousands of excellent art works collected and curated by Dr. Barnes over his lifetime. At one point the collection was housed in a different space in Merion, PA. It was moved to this wonderful contemporary building in 2012.

Dr. Barnes emphasized not individual works, but the overall experience created in each room by the way art and metalwork and wood pieces and collectibles are curated/combined and “in conversation” with each other. Dr. Barnes did all the curating himself.

The building itself is a gorgeous example of contemporary architecture, with wonderful water features. The collection is stunning, and we had a great docent who clearly loves the collection and loves talking about it.

Some of you have asked how I happen to be on this tour. A Seattle friend who is connected with the Seattle Chamber Music Society invited me to join the group, about 14 — a couple of people are coming and going and not here for the whole week. Everyone else is connected with SCMS in some way, either as a board member or major donor or both. The trip was billed as a cultural/arts tour of Philly, which it certainly has been. We have tickets to the Philadelphia symphony, to a chamber music concert, toured the Barnes and the Curtis Institute on Thursday, have had a fair amount of time to walk Philadelphia streets, and had that extraordinary Italian market tasting experience. That might be my favorite part so far. On Friday we visit the renowned Rodin Museum.


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