Lower Merion to allow more visitors at Barnes

Posted: July 20, 2007

In the latest effort to keep the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, township officials have passed a zoning ordinance that would more than double the number of visitors permitted each year.

The ordinance approved Wednesday allows up to 140,000 visitors per year and takes the place of a previous rule that allowed the Barnes to be open to the public three days a week and restricted to about 400 visitors a day, for about 62,000 visitors per year.

The gallery, which holds one of the nation's most celebrated collections of Impressionist art, is planning a move to the Parkway in Philadelphia. The move would break instructions in the will of its founder, Dr. Albert Barnes, but the Barnes Foundation's trustees won permission to make the move by arguing that relocating would pull the foundation out of near bankruptcy.

In late June, Barnes officials rejected a $50 million offer from Montgomery County officials to keep the gallery in Lower Merion Township, saying it came far too late to be taken seriously. - AP

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