What we know about the Philadelphia Museum of Art expansion

The Philadelphia Museum of Art attracts over 800,000 visitors from around the world each year, with its esteemed collection of 240,000 objects that span the past 4,000 years. Works from Impressionists like Monet, Renoir and Degas make up the permanent collection, as well as pieces from American artists like Thomas Eakins and Charles Wilson Peale.

The landmark building opened in 1928 but the museum’s beginnings date back to the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, when Memorial Hall was built to display art.

Now it’s time for a makeover and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry is leading the Facilities Master Project. Initially kicking off renovations in 2006, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now officially entering phase two with The Core Project.

But what kind of changes can we expect?

Here is a breakdown:

1. The creation of The Forum
The auditorium will be removed to open up a west-east axis from Lenfest Hall to the East Entrance to make room for The Forum. It will be a multi-level public space below the Great Stair Hall.

2. A brand new staircase
At the center of The Forum will be a new staircase, connecting the 640-foot Vaulted Walkway to the above floors. There will also be new elevators.

3. The North Entrance will be reopened
Facing Kelly Drive and the Perelman Building is the North Entrance, which features a majestic lobby and connects to The Vaulted Walkway, opening up a north-south axis to The Forum.

4. Classrooms added
There will be new classrooms and art studios added with digital projection amenities.

5. More gallery space
23,000 square feet of new gallery space will be added in the current building to display American and contemporary art.

6. Improvements in infrastructure
Plans will be implemented to increase energy efficiency as well as enhance information, security, and fire and life-safety building systems.

7. Make the museum more accessible
Ramps will be added at various points inside and outside to make the museum ADA compliant and more accessible to people with physical disabilities.

The PMA will remain open during construction, which will continue through the spring of 2020.

To get a visual feel for what to expect from the renovation project, watch the video below. 

More from our Sister Sites