These Pennsylvania Art Museums Will Enthrall You

Activities, Site InSpections

A trip across the Keystone State will provide groups with some of the best art experiences in the country

Philadelphia is home to some of our nation’s most popular art museums, but the City of Brotherly Love has only a portion of the great art the Keystone State has to offer.

Pennsylvania features several significant and lesser-known galleries of worldly and local artwork where groups can immerse themselves for days. Here are seven of the best art museums in Pennsylvania.

The Brandywine River Museum

The Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford is home to a variety of artists who influenced American landscape art. Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

Brandywine River Museum of Art (Chadds Ford)

At the Brandywine River Museum of Art, you’ll get to know artists that not only influenced American landscape art, but also diversified the galleries of major museums in the United States.

While here, you can see Andrew Wyeth Chadds Ford studio. His personal work space was given to the museum by his wife, and artist, Betsy James Wyeth. The studio’s setting has mostly remained unchanged since his habitation in order to give visitors the most immersive experience. 

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You’ll see the books, and art collections that inspired him and have the opportunity to take some of that inspiration for yourself. Guided tours of Andrew Wyeth’s studio are offered by the museum.

Make sure to see the works of the painters you love, including Horace Pippin, Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses, John Kane, and other great artists including Josephine Joy, Morris Hirshfield, Lawrence Lebduska and Patrick Sullivan. 

Reading Public Museum (Reading)

Visit the Reading Public Museum for its world-class collection of more than 300,000 objects, including art, antiquities, and scientific, and cultural artifacts from around the globe. 

The Fine Arts Galleries showcase the museum’s permanent European, American, Modern & Contemporary artwork collection. The collection consists of more than 1,000 paintings, 12,000 works on paper, and 200 sculptures spanning from the 15th century to the present day.

Here are a few names of influential European and American artists whose work you can expect to see: Edgar Degas, Frederic Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, John Singer Sargent, N.C. Wyeth, Raphaelle Peale, William Merritt Chase, George Bellows, John Sloan, Milton Avery and more. 

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (Reading)

This museum gets its name from its humble beginning in 1871 as our nation’s first goggle and safety optical lenses manufacturer. In 2005, this space was reimagined and renovated to satisfy the community’s desire for a more immersive art experience. Today, the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts serves 250,000 visitors annually as one of the largest interactive art centers in the United States. 

Free guided tours are offered on a weekly basis. These tours include a unique experience at the Glassblowing Studio as groups can learn from glass artists as they create a piece of glass artwork from start to finish.

This center is also home to the Albert and Eunice Boscov Film Theatre, which presents new art house and international films weekly. The 125-seat theater features a Christie Digital Projector and Dolby Surround Sound.

The Everhart Museum in Scranton

The Everhart Museum in Scranton was founded in 1908 by a Civil War veteran. Photo by Jeffrey via Flickr

Everhart Museum (Scranton)

Founded in 1908 by a Civil War veteran, the Everhart Museum stands today as one of the oldest museums in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The three-story building features natural history, science, and art galleries, but what makes this site so unique is its proud display of this region’s artists and landscape art.

Look out for The Pyne Breaker, 1924, by John Willard Raught and other impressionist paintings of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s natural and industrial landscapes, including iconic depictions of the region’s coal landscapes. Also, the museum houses one of the largest public collections of Hope Horn’s artwork.

The Maridon Museum (Butler)

Featured in the Huffington Post’s 55 Best Lesser Known Art Museums, Artist Studios, and Art Centers in Northeast USA, the Maridon Museum provides an extraordinary experience for those interested in Eastern culture. 

One could say the Maridon is one of a kind as it is the only museum in the Western Pennsylvania region with a specific focus on Chinese and Japanese art and culture. 

The front gallery welcomes visitors with tall Asian ornate jade and ivory sculptures and mid-17th-century Chinese paintings on the walls. As you move into the side and rear galleries, you’ll see Asian objects preserved for their age, material and provenance. Meissen collectors will appreciate the museum’s exclusive collection. Free guided tours are available and provided by the Maridon Museum upon reservation.

James A. Michener Art Museum (Doylestown)

The James A. Michener Art Museum has a special exhibition of one of the 21st century’s most notable pop artists. The Keith Haring: A Radiant Legacy exhibition features more than 100 notable artworks from a private collection of the American artist whose pop art emerged from a New York City graffiti subculture.

The museum also features a world-class collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings, historical exhibitions and showcases of contemporary artworks that satisfy more than 135,000 annual visitors from around the globe. 

Schmucker Art Gallery (Gettysburg)

The Schmucker Art Gallery, which is located on the Gettysburg College Campus, features exhibitions showcasing challenging and diversifying art. This lively art space displays eight to 10 exhibitions focusing on local, national, and international contemporary artists. 

Over the decade, its Fine Arts Collection has expanded to include notable works from artists such as Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, Jules Cheret and others. Groups can visit for the Adams County Arts Council Juried Art Exhibition where they can view paintings, sculptures, photography, prints, drawings and textiles produced by artists in Adams County and the larger Mid-Atlantic region.

By Gabriela B. dos Santos

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