Alan and Jonna's Philadelphia, PA trip

Jonna went to Philadelphia, PA for a work conference in June of 2010. She extended her hotel reservation for a few extra days (which we paid for) so she could stick around for the following weekend. Alan flew out and we spent the weekend seeing the sights. The biggest item on our "must see" list was the Barnes Foundation. Jonna had purchased tickets months in advance and we managed to figure out the buses needed to get out to the Merion neighborhood. Once back in downtown Philly we did the walking tour of the major historical sites there: The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Constitution Center and lunch in Reading Market. Our final day was a trip to the Philadelphia Museum Of Art. A fun weekend trip with two of our favorite themes: art and history.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the trip:

1) The Barnes Foundation was started in the early 20th century by an eccentric millionaire and became the most impressive collection of Impressionist and Modernist paintings in the US, if not the world. The Foundation was set up as a school, more than an art collection, and was kept maintained with Mr. Barnes' specific arrangement of art on the walls after his death. It's location in Merion was highly controversial and we'd seen a documentary about the collection which inspired us to make the trip to Philly to see it ourselves.

2) No photos are allowed inside the Foundation's building so we had to make due with this photo of Jonna sitting on the wall outside. The art, and its presentation, defies description.

3) The Liberty Bell is a strange object to visit. It has become iconized as a symbol of America and a fancy building was built to house it. The presentation builds the hype even more...but honestly it just wasn't all that impressive to me when I focused on the specific history of the bell itself and ignored all the propaganda.

4) More impressive was seeing Independence Hall. I get the significance of this building and could appreciate the history there.

5) The National Consitution Center was a mixed bag. I appreciated there being a place which highlighted the making of the US Consitution and the hall of statues (including George Washintgon, shown here) was interesting to add visuals. But, as with the Liberty Bell, I get worried when items start to become fetishized and there was an awful lot of Ra-Ra-Ra flag waving going on that ignores a lot of the reality that came with those lofty words.

6) Our final stop was a visit to the impressive Philadelphia Museum of Art. After seeing the Barnes, the Impressionist collection at the PMoA felt small but they still had amazing pieces. We spent half a day going through most of the museum and came away with our art interests satiated.

7) We decided to skip the popular tourist photo on the "Rocky" steps at the front of the museum but did get a photo of the back entrance. This photo only shows small portion of the building but hopefully it gives some idea of the overall size. This is our kind of art collection!

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Alan Fleming