Philadelphia Museum of Art Development – Philadelphia PA


The iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art was improved and developed by Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) labor during the Great Depression. “The WPA had permitted extraordinary construction and growth at the museum, while even allowing it to save money.” Philadelphia Museum Bulletin:

Everywhere, behind the scenes, the Museum is filled with workmen. Steelworkers, smiths, masons, plasterers, painters and men of the dozens of other building crafts ply their trades behind doors through which, as these open and close, we catch a glimpse of strange and delicate shapes—vast pillars of carved stone from India, tall red columns from China, gilded French panels of the Louis’. Elsewhere we see whole suites of new galleries, destined for paintings, prints, glass, textiles, and other works of art. The great building begun as an act of faith in the future, is finding its fulfillment in the present.

Many contributions have made this work possible. The antique elements being incorporated, to a value of $620,000, were the gifts of private citizens. These gifts constituted a sponsor’s contribution, which made it possible to secure large federal grants, chiefly for labor, from the Works Progress Administration, under which a total of $815,000 has been expended to date. Materials and equipment for the galleries of the study collections are being supplied from funds granted by the General Education Board for that purpose.


Source notes
The Philadelphia Museum Bulletin 34 180 (January 1939). Philadelphia Museum of Art Library.

Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on January 28, 2017.

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Location Info

2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Coordinates: 39.96573, -75.18115

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