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“Worthy of Many Return Visits!”

The Barnes Foundation
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Day Trip from New Haven CT to Philadelphia by Rail
Ranked #2 of 445 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French painting in the world. An extraordinary number of masterpieces by Renoir, Cezanne and Matisse provide a depth of work by these artists that is unavailable elsewhere. Established as an educational institution, the Barnes carries out its mission teaching classes in its galleries and Arboretum.
New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
32 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Worthy of Many Return Visits!”
Reviewed February 6, 2013

My most recent visit was in December, but I purchased a membership when this location in Phila.'s Parkway Museums District opened in May 2012, and have visited four times since then. There's really too much to absorb in a single visit. The collection is phenomenal, to say the least. The main collection galleries replicate the "ensemble hang" that Dr. Barnes stipulated in the previous Merion, PA location - but the improved lighting (natural and otherwise) makes the artwork come alive. The audio guide is extremely helpful in explaining the connections between the various pieces on a single wall, and the symmetry Dr. Barnes was trying to create. Take your time moving between the galleries, and focus on individual works of art - or else it may feel overwhelming to be surrounded by so many Renoirs, Cezannes, Matisses, etc. in such close proximity. Don't forget the second floor galleries - or better yet, save them for a return visit. The downstairs gift shop is nice, and I haven't eaten in the cafe yet, but have heard that it is tasty. I did try the snack bar on the lower level, sharing hummus and snacks with a friend. There's limited seating in that area, but it was quick - so, no big deal. This is really a "must do" when you visit Philadelphia. It's best to reserve tickets in advance, although I understand they do set aside a small number of tickets each day for "walk-ups." The Barnes is right next to the Rodin Museum - another gem! Up the Parkway on one end, the amazing Phila. Museum of Art, and in the other direction: the Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences, and Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter & Paul. It's a rather incredible stretch of cultural treasures - and I'm so lucky to live so close!

Visited December 2012
1 Thank Rogersjk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
151 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Same fabulous Barnes collection in a new outer shell”
Reviewed February 4, 2013

This is the same Barnes collection with a new (controversial) location and outer shell and a bigger, better shop. Definitely buy entry tickets beforehand online, and buy the acousti-guide to understand Barnes' rationale behind the ensembles. Also, Do not miss the exhibit to the left of the entry, on Barnes himself.

Visited February 2013
Thank JoanCYardleyPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cutchogue, new york
Level 6 Contributor
110 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Remarkable Setting for a Lovely Museum”
Reviewed February 3, 2013

This was our first visit in the new Philadlephia setting. Congratulations to the Foundation and staff for creating
an enhansed vision of what was seen previously in the old setting in Marion!!

A must now if you visit Philadelphia. Reservations strongly suggested.

Take the time to spend the day - first floor in the morning and second one in the afternoon with a break for a delicious lunch in the museum restaurant (attentive staff and delicious food imaginatively presented)

Visited February 2013
Thank newsuffolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Overwhelmingly beautiful”
Reviewed February 2, 2013 via mobile

You could easily take days to enjoy this museum. We only did the first look and cannot wait to return in warm weather to enjoy the gardens

Thank Joan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Mind blowing experience if you happen to love art.”
Reviewed February 2, 2013

I have visited the Barnes in it's previous location in Marion, PA before and always came away awed by the collection but the presentation at Barnes's new location is truly special.

The architects won acclaim for this building for good reason. When one approaches from any angle, it is interesting and entering it and observing it from up close one realizes it is an intelligent, sensitive but bold design. The building alone, without the content would merit a visit.

My friends and i were there mainly to see the collection. When one enters the elongated building it is divided in half by a large, skylight lit hall that at one end has view of the garden. One side of that hall are offices and spaces for meeting and education functions and the opposite side are the galleries ( three stories) that are basically the exact recreations of Barnes' house spaces.

Because the original house was built ages ago and the wall surfaces, floors, lighting etc were old and not always suitable to show art the new spaces with updated lighting etc show the work with such clarity that the collection comes alive.
We only spent a couple of hours seeing the collection. A serious student of painting could spend days.

Gem of a museum, it would help if one read into it's history and the quirky Mr. Barnes' stormy relationship with Philadelphia society.
On site arking is expensive, cheaper on the the metered street parking if one can find it:)

Visited January 2013
Thank perennialtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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