The current museum building (Historic Landmark Building) opened in 1876. Designed by the American architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt, it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. As such, it is recognized as an important part of America's and Philadelphia's architectural heritage. The collection is installed in a chronological and thematic format, exploring the history of American art from the 1760s to the present.
Since its founding, PAFA has collected works by leading American artists, as well as works by distinguished alumni and faculty of its school. From 1811 to 1969, PAFA also organized annual art exhibitions from which significant acquisitions were made. Harrison S. Morris, Managing Director from 1892 to 1905, collected contemporary American art for the institution. Among the many masterpieces acquired during his tenure were works by Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, Frank Duvenek, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, and Edmund Tarbell. Work by The Eight, which included former PAFA students Robert Henri and John Sloan, is well represented in the collection, and provides a transition between 19th- and 20th- century art movements.
Today, PAFA maintains its strong collecting tradition with the inclusion of works by modern and contemporary American artists such as Jennifer Bartlett, Richard Diebenkorn, Nancy Graves, Alex Katz, Philip Pearlstein, Robert Motherwell, Raymond Saunders, and Frank Stella. Acquisitions and exhibition programs are balanced between historical and contemporary art, and the museum continues to show works by contemporary regional artists and features annual displays of work by PAFA students.
Docent tours meet in the lobby of the Historic Landmark Building and feature highlights of the permanent collection.
Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Tours are free with admission. Check in with the front desk or call 215-972-2060 on the day of your visit to confirm docent availability.
Join Aqimero Monday to Friday, 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. for a variety of Happy Hour specials. You’ll find $7 cocktails, $6 wine, $5 draught beer, and $1.50 oysters.
Happy Hour also features Aqimero’s new Social Circle deal, fabulous for groups of 4-8 looking to mingle over savory fare. For $30.00 per person, guests will be able to choose two skewers from a list of options such as shrimp, octopus, fish, and chicken. Social Circle also includes the choice of one taco; crispy chicken, baja fish, or shrimp “al pastor.” Next, visitors will choose two snacks for sharing from a list that features crispy calamari, spicy shrimp quesadilla, guacamole, smoked swordfish dip, truffle fries, and Philly cheesesteak sliders. The deal is rounded out with a shareable chandelabra, a large format cocktail.
During this tour you will find out the history of the Kimmel Center, learn architectural and construction highlights, as well as visit the Commonwealth Plaza, Perelman Theater, Verizon Hall, Merck Arts Education Center and the Dorrance H. Hamilton Garden. This tour is approximately one hour in duration. Call ahead to schedule your tour.
Come for an in-depth look at the Kimmel Center's architecture. This walk along the Avenue of the Arts allows you to view the Center in the context of the cityscape. Tour artworks on display throughout the Kimmel Center, including the Moore Galleries and the recently installed Percent for Art collection. This tour is approximately 90 minutes in duration. Call ahead to schedule your tour.