Barnes Foundation Sets May 19, 2012 As The Opening Date For Its New Philadelphia Campus; 10-Day Opening Celebration To Include 60 Hours Of Free, Round-The-Clock Public Access During Memorial Day Weekend

The Barnes Foundation's new Philadelphia campus on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, designed by the acclaimed architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, will open to the public in May 2012. (Image courtesy Barnes Foundation)

After successfully raising more than $200 million through its capital campaign and surpassing 10,000 members (a 2,500% increase in membership!!), The Barnes Foundation officially announced last week that the much-anticipated opening date of its Philadelphia campus will be Saturday, May 19, 2012.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on May 19, kicking off 10 days of special visits to the new building and gardens, concluding with 60 hours of free, round-the-clock open access to the public on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26, 27 and 28, 2012.

The new 4.6-acre Philadelphia campus on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, designed by the New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, will be the new home of the Barnes art collection and art education programs.

The art collection will be displayed in a Gallery that replicates the scale, proportion and configuration of the original galleries in Merion.

Joining the other cultural gems on the Parkway, the gallery space is part of a 93,000-square-foot building, which also includes a changing exhibition gallery, conservation lab, auditorium, library, gift shop and 50-seat café with a courtyard for outdoor dining, and even meets the highest environmental standards with its glass canopy, solar cells, green roof and beautiful landscaping (see additional renderings below).

The main entrance to the new Philadelphia campus of the Barnes Foundation will be located at the corner of 20th and the Parkway, placing it in the esteemed company of other cultural gems on the Parkway like the Rodin Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Free Library and the Art Museum. (Image courtesy Barnes Foundation)

To create a home as fitting as the original Merion Campus, the architects have designed a unique building duplicating Barnes’ original gallery layout, while adding classrooms and an interior garden space. So the awe-inspiring collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings and African sculpture will be on view as intended, plus invite more access and greater educational opportunities.

We’ve got more info below, including when tickets go on sale, details on the sustainable elements of the new building, additional renderings and more.

The Barnes closed its Merion galleries and the property’s arboretum on Sunday, July 3 to begin preparations for the move. Tickets to the museum’s new site will go on sale in February 2012 to members and in March 2012 to the general public. Click here to become a member.

Indoor and outdoor gardens will complement the sustainable design of the new museum. (Image courtesy The Barnes Foundation)

An overview of what to expect at the Barnes:

The Artwork

Home to the world’s largest collection of works by Renoir, The Barnes’ more than 3,000-piece collection focuses on French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, American and African art and sculpture. Collection highlights include: Pierre-Auguste Renoir (181 works); Paul Cézanne (69 works); Henri Matisse (59 works); Pablo Picasso (46 works); Chaim Soutine (21 works); Henri Rousseau (18 works); Amedeo Modigliani (16 works); Edgar Degas (11 works); Vincent van Gogh (7 works); Georges Seurat (6 works).

Interactive Tour

But in the meantime, those who missed the collection in its final days in Merion are in luck. The New York Times published a completely awesome 360 degree, interactive online virtual tour of the Barnes galleries complete with audio highlights by Arts report Randy Kennedy. You can take a tour of the Main Room, Room 6, Room 8 and Room 22. Hover your mouse over highlighted works to see close-up shots and information, as well.

The new 93,000-square-foot facility will include a changing exhibition gallery, conservation lab, auditorium, library, gift shop and 50-seat café with a courtyard for outdoor dining. (Image courtesy The Barnes Foundation)


The Barnes Foundation is seeking LEED Platinum Certification for its new Philadelphia campus. Efficient energy conservation practices will be used throughout the design. A green roof and abundant permeable surfaces will allow for rain and grey water re-use, and the incorporation of reclaimed Pennsylvania wood and other local materials during construction will enhance the sustainability of the building. If LEED Platinum Certification is awarded, this project will be the very first cultural institution in the entire Delaware Valley to achieve such certification.

The landscape, designed by Olin, also helps the Barnes achieve its sustainability goals. There will be approximately 100 more trees on the site than exist now, as well as gardens and plantings surrounding the building. Irrigation will be provided by the capture and storage of rainwater. Impermeable surfaces have been reduced to a minimum and underground storm water retention basins will be installed.

New Website

In conjunction with the move, The Barnes Foundation also launched a new website with much-expanded functionality. With an increase in demand expected when tickets go on sale in March 2012, the website will utilize a new reservations system that will show up-to-the- minute ticket availability. The site will also feature a new cataloging system to vastly improve virtual access to the pieces in the Barnes collection.

We’ll keep you updated on the Barnes move as the opening date approaches; you can read up on a list of FAQs about the move in the meantime.

This news is incredibly exciting! We cannot wait to welcome the Barnes to its new home.

The Barnes Foundation – coming May 19, 2012
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Tickets to the new Philadelphia campus of The Barnes Foundation will go on sale in March 2012. (Image courtesy The Barnes Foundation)


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  1. AS a native of Philadelphia and A long time visitor to the Barnes in Merion,
    I will fly up from Ft.Lauderdale to this exciting opening.

  2. Can’t wait for another trip to Philadelphi. Each time I visited the Barnes I wished for another day. This time I would like to bring my two adult children and three grandchildren for a long weekend. Their deceased father and grandfather was a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

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