For some (be it Imelda Marcos or Carrie Bradshaw), there is no higher art than the shoe. The Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine’s Shoe Museum (148 N. 8th St.) houses about 900 pairs of shoes, with 250 on display. The shoes span time and place, from Egyptian burial sandals to a pair of Manolo Blahniks owned by top fashion cop Joan Rivers. To schedule a tour of the shoe museum, call 215-625-5243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Simeone Automotive Museum (6825 Norwitch Drive, 215-365-7233) celebrates the art of the racing car, featuring the collection of proprietor Fred Simeone. Every fourth Saturday of the month at noon, cars are taken out on the three-acre back lot for a demo. This weekend, it’s England versus Italy, with two Bentleys (the 1927 Bentley Speed Model and the 1930 Bentley 4.5-liter "Blower") and an Alfa Romeo 8C taking the track.
The Barnes is known for its collection of Impressionist and Modernist works. The James A. Michener Art Museum (138 S. Pine St., Doylestown, 215-340-9800, michenermuseum.org) has its own homegrown collection, featuring Impressionist artists from Pennsylvania and Modernist artists from New Hope. Get retro while you’re there and visit "Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi Gallery," featuring 45 works from some of the greatest painters of the Renaissance from the gallery in Florence, Italy (through Aug. 12).
The Woodmere Art Museum (9201 Germantown Ave., 215-247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org) honors Salvatore Pinto, one of Albert Barnes’ prized students and teacher at the Barnes Foundation, who was inspired by the European Modernists. While you’re out there, don’t miss out on "Haunting Narratives: Detours from Philadelphia Realism, 1935 to the Present," featuring the works of nearly 60 artists from the area whose version of realism takes a dark turn. Both exhibits run through July 15.
If free is what you’re looking for, the Institute of Contemporary Art (118 S. 36th St., 215-898-7108, icaphila.org) has free admission all the time, not just for one weekend.
Why simply look at a facsimile of nature in works such as Henri Rousseau’s "Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest" or Paul Cezanne’s "Mont Sainte-Victoire" in the Barnes when you can experience the real thing? Just because the art has moved doesn’t mean the Barnes location in Merion will become some nuclear waste dump or, worse, an Olive Garden restaurant. The famed arboretum on the Merion site (300 N. Latch’s Lane, 610-667-0290) is unfortunately under lock and key until they reopen in the fall with art-education classes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give the grounds a peek inside through the gate. Not to mention, we have our own arboreal paradise: Bartram’s Gardens (54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, 215-729-5281).
Along with hosting one of the most extensive art collections in the world, Albert Barnes was also dedicated to the education of artists, so take a class. At the Clay Studio’s (137-139 N. Second St. 215-925-3453) Out of Hand, instructors will walk you through how to make your own simple project or give you the freedom to freestyle. (May 25, 6 to 8 p.m., $30-$35; for $5, the studio will fire and ship your work to you. Contact Sara Gallo at email@example.com or 215-925-3453, Ext. 23 for more info.)
For those who believe the Barnes’ rightful place is back in its original spot in Merion, there’s always Don Argott’s "The Art of Steal." Funded by Lenny Feinberg, who opposed the move, the documentary isn’t so kind to the opposite side. You won’t have to leave the house; the documentary is currently streaming on Netflix, for rent ($4.99) and sale in HD ($19.99) on iTunes and to buy instantly on Amazon ($9.99). (Looking for other art-heist films, albeit fictional ones? Check out "How to Steal a Million," "Once a Thief" and "Gambit.") Or sit outside and read John Anderson’s book about the Barnes, Art Held Hostage: The Battle Over the Barnes Collection.
Contact Molly Eichel at 215-854-5909 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @mollyeichel. Read her blog posts at www.philly.com/entertainment.