Heaven’s First Visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Art is something completely unique, filling every corner of every street of the city, even if it’s looked upon in different ways. Aside from the various forms of street art Philadelphia is accustomed to, where else can you get a taste of the finer things in art, without having to travel across the globe? Look no further then the Philadelphia Museum of Art! Home to some of the biggest names in the art world, this is the perfect place to spend an afternoon indulging in the different areas of art. But, wait a sec, what in the world are teenagers supposed to do at a world renowned museum?

Okay, so maybe museums are a bit on the dull side, especially since you’re most likely visiting one on a school trip, and trust me, after almost a decade of doing that, it does get pretty old. Being honest, when I accepted the invitation into the STAMP program, I was a bit sketchy, especially when I got my first assignment, which just so happened to be the very museum I never had the best experiences at. It was always a long tour that ended up with nothing to go home and talk about later. We’ve all had that experience, right? Need I forget the ever present elder forces constantly looking down on the class because of some unrelated reason? Maybe that was a tad too over dramatic, but you get my point, right? Teens and museums haven’t really been a good mix. Well, as self-contradicting as that statement is, I’m about to change that view. Ladies and gentlemen, located on the 2600 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, lives possibly the center point in the world of culture, the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

Getting around the city isn’t much of a hassle, considering how many SEPTA bus routes and methods of transportation there are, so why should getting all the way to PMA be? Speaking from experience, this is probably one of the easiest places to get to, with just a quick trip on the route 48 bus, dropping you off within walking distance of all the excitement, PMA is perfect to get to from virtually anywhere in the city! May I recommend talking the Market-Frankford line El to Spring Garden and catching it from there? It saves you all the trouble of trying to pinpoint your ride.

If you’ve lived in the city as long as I have, you’ll definitely want to snap a few pictures from the legendary east entrance, dubbed the “Rocky” steps by many fans of that series. However, if it’s not the sight of people from all over trying to tackle the massive uphill climb, it’s the view that’ll get you. This had to be the highlight of my first personal visit to PMA. The view is amazing. Trust me, this is something for keeps, and that doesn’t even cover all the galleries in the museum!

The actual content of the museums has something for everyone. Letting my intense love of Japanese art get the best of me, the Japanese tea garden has got to be my favorite piece in the entire museum. The Victorian-era galleries are probably up to par with that, especially if European art is something of interest, overall, I’d say the diversity found in each collection is what makes this museum worthwhile.

While I sadly didn’t get to fully scope out the gift shop, I can honestly say, that while extremely pricey, you may find something that strikes your fancy, especially if you’re a budding artist. For my fellow foodies out there, you can also get a taste of European cuisines in the many cafes found inside PMA. If that doesn’t settle it, there’s also a smaller cafeteria that has, from what I’ve heard, a variety of snacks, cookies, and in a sense, fancy treats, totally worth fulfilling your sweet tooth for.

Last, but certainly not least, we come to my favorite part of the museum, the Pay What You Wish Sundays and Wednesdays! While not uncommon for top standing attractions in Philly, this program allows visitors to pay literally whatever they please to enjoy the museum, the first Sunday of the month, and every Wednesday after 5pm. And if you have your STAMP pass, you get in for FREE. It doesn’t stop there. On Pay What You Wish Days, there are often additional activities you can do like watching movies, making crafts, even doing yoga. From what I hear, a teen oriented program at the museum is in the works, too. Don’t worry, I promise, you guys will like it. As a teenager, the Philadelphia Museum of Art literally has more to offer then you think. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of art, I’m telling you, there is literally something for everyone. A big plus would definitely have to be the spaces allowing for sketching. I totally recommend this to Philly’s up and coming artists!

That’s it for now! Keep up with our cultural and artistic adventures, and I’ll write again soon! PMA fan, out.

READY TO VISIT the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art profile page for the hours you can use your STAMP pass!

This post was written by Heaven Mendez, a STAMP Teen Council member. Heaven attends Science Leadership Academy.