We had the opportunity recently to visit the art collection of the Barnes Foundation, which is housed at 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia (where Philadelphia's Youth Study Center was formerly housed).
Let me begin by saying the architects of the Barnes did an incredible job in building the museum. The outdoor landscape of the museum is great, with a low floor water pool leading you into the Barnes.
On the day we went, the Barnes were completely sold out of tickets until 6 pm. One of my favorite parts of the experience was when a French tourist looked at us like "huh, how did they get in?" Two reasons: We're lucky (and made a reservation before I got here - they are strongly recommended) and we're from Philly.
Inside, we were greeted by an African security guard. Unfortunately, they have a strict no-photo policy for the art and anything inside the museum (not "photog" friendly, for you tourists out there).
We started on the mezzanine (which doesn't house much art) before we headed up to the second floor. Barnes had an extensive collection of Renoir paintings, but not that many Van Gogh paintings (a highlight of the museum is the painting of the mailperson).
The works are laid out beautifully, with some being very high up. The Barnes is one of the only museums in the area that has clearly defined markers on the floor that tell you that you have to keep a certain distance from the art.
Then, we went via the very big elevator to the first floor. A highlight of the first floor is room 1, where we could see the blinds being raised up and down. You get a good view of the Philadelphia area.
Our last stop was the lower level. The lower level houses an extensive library, as well as a decent auditorium and lunch facilities.
Overall, we would have to say the experience was very nice.
Total Rating: 4/5
For more information on the Barnes visit their website at http://www.barnesfoundation.org