United States

118-128 N. Broad Street
Phone: 215-972-7600

Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts

On April 22, 1876, while America celebrated its centennial, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts marked an important milestone in its then 71-year history with the opening of its new building. While the museums in New York City and Boston (both founded in 1870) were but fledglings, the Pennsylvania Academy began its eighth decade in a striking and revolutionary new home.

The building, designed by the Philadelphia firm of Frank Furness and George Hewitt, is generally considered to be primarily the work of Furness who finished the project after the partnership dissolved in 1875. Furness had been a pupil of Richard Morris Hunt who introduced him to the esthetics of the modern Gothic revival. This included John Ruskin's appreciation of the richly colored designs of 14th-century Venice, Owen Jones's and Christopher Dresser's Eastern influenced ornament, and Viollet le Duc's use of foliated decoration combined with cast-iron architecture.

Rising 70 feet above the sidewalk, the Academy must have seemed a towering fortress in 1876. Today, dwarfed by more recent buildings, it looks like a decorated jewelbox. On the facade, heavy courses of dark stone rise toward a roofline marked with such colorful elements as red and black brick patterning, fanciful floral motifs, and a bas-relief frieze depicting famous artists of the past. A gothic window dominates the central pavilion and creates a motif that recurs inside.

After entering through a low vaulted hall, the visitor steps into the spectacularly ornamented Grand Stairhall. Its staircase, bordered by richly tiled floor and walls, and bronze and mahogany banisters, sweeps upward to th... [ Read all ]

Permanent Collection

Since its founding in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has been committed to fostering and collecting American art. We are pleased to present highlights of our permanent collection, one of the foremost collections of American art, ranging from colonial masters such as Robert Feke, John Singleton Copley, and Benjamin West, to major contemporary artists including Richard Diebenkorn, Red Grooms, and Faith Ringgold.

Many of the nation's most important artists were founders, teachers or students at the Pennsylvania Academy, including Charles Willson Peale, William Rush, Thomas Sully, Thomas Eakins, Thomas Anshutz, Mary Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles Grafly, Maxfield Parrish, Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, George Luks, Violet Oakley, Arthur B. Carles, Daniel Garber, and Robert Gwathmey - all of whom are represented in the Academy's collection.


See for full exhibition listings

Forthcoming exhibitions

Space is the Place

October 20 to December 30, 2007

Fisher Brooks Gallery, Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
The theme of space exploration—its infinite potential, as well as its historical successes and failures—is the focus of Space Is the Place, featuring installations, paintings, works on paper, and sound and video works made during the past ten years by an international group of contemporary artists. Global attitudes toward this subject have changed radically between the time the Soviets launched their Sputnik satellite nearly fifty years ago and the explosion of American space shuttles in 1986 and 2003. Despite recent setbacks, travel to outer space remains a powerful catalyst for contemporary artists, inspiring nostalgia, fantasy, and, at a time of great terrestrial conflict, consideration of serious earthly concerns. While these works are united by the primary theme of outer space, the open-ended parameters of the subject also invite consideration of issues relating to the technological, environmental, and sociopolitical forces affecting life on earth. The title of the exhibition derives from a 1974 movie about an influential jazz-fusion band, whose leader, Sun Ra, spoke of making music sublime enough to elevate humanity beyond Earth, transcending reality. Much like the cosmic themes of Sun Ra, Space Is the Place reaches out toward the inviting realm beyond our planet. Featured artists include Laurie Anderson, Nina Katchadourian, Oleg Kulik, Julian LaVerdiere, Aleksandra Mir, and Jane and Louise Wilson, among others.

Stephen Powers: New Work

October 20, 2007, to January 27, 2008

Morris Gallery, Historic Landmark Building

Powers, who was born and ...+ [ Read all ]


Adults $7
Seniors and Students with I.D. $6
Youth ages 5 - 18 $5
FREE for members and children under 5. Morris Gallery exhibitions and ground floor of the Historic Landmark Building is free.

Opening hours

Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and legal holidays.


An accessible entrance to the Museum is located at Cherry and Burns Street. The Burns Street Elevator provides access to the Gallery Floor. Visitors can access this entrance by pushing the call button at the bottom of the front stairs of the Museum, or at the corner of Cherry and Burns; Security staff will meet the caller.

Wheelchairs are available free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis. The gallery floor is accessible by elevator, and restrooms are accessible.

Guided tours are available for people with physical or mental disabilities upon request.

Sign-language interpreters are available for all programs with prior arrangements.

Museum internal and external photos (3)

Click on the images to enlarge


Tours are given at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 12 and 1 p.m. on weekends. Tours are free with admission.

Founded in 1805 by painter and scientist Charles Willson Peale and sculptor William Rush, the Academy continues to focus on its founding mission - that of collecting, exhibiting, and teaching fine art in America, combining studio instruction and direct contact with historic and contemporary works of art. Through our spectacular galleries, our internationally known school of fine arts and our public programs, the Academy strives to integrate these resources, providing the student or the visitor with a unique and thrilling experience.

Get to know the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and all that it has to offer. One visit to the Academy and you will understand how extraordinary is our dual heritage as the nation’s first museum and school of fine arts. There is certainly no better place to learn about our country’s artistic heritage and the achievements of its greatest artists, past and present. Provided below are tips and tools to facilitate your visit to the Academy, its galleries, museum shop, café and more. Broaden your artistic horizons by joining as a member or a corporate sponsor or by participating in our capital campaign and enjoy exclusive privileges and discounts associated with membership. The Academy’s stunning interior provides an excellent space for events including weddings, cocktail receptions and company parties. Customize your event with our special events department. Welcome to the Academy, a national treasure for you to enjoy.