November 14, 2010 |
If there's an ethnicity not in need of a museum to bear witness to its exquisitely realized ambition, it's that of the American Jew. In science, Jews lay claim to Einstein; in music, Bernstein. It's hard to think of a group that in the last century has more clearly led media and entertainment, finance and commerce. American Jews might be the most spectacular overachievers in our young country's history, and it's never been much of a secret. The assumption for many who tracked development of the new home of the National Museum of American Jewish History was that it would be a vanity project.
September 10, 2010 |
After 11 years of negotiations, a deal to bring a Revolutionary War museum to historic Philadelphia has been signed. Officials from the American Revolution Center (ARC) and the National Park Service gathered in Society Hill Friday to commemorate a land swap that cleared the way for the museum, which will rise on the site of the former Independence Visitors Center, 3rd and Chestnut streets. According to the agreement, the park service will pay the ARC $3.2 million in exchange for preserving 78 acres of land in Valley Forge National Historic Park.
August 1, 2010 |
GARDNERS, Pa. - Karen Howser's braids give her the look of a mature Heidi. But instead of the fictional heroine's Swiss Alps, Howser is taking on the Appalachians and their famed 2,179-mile trail as her personal mission. After starting in Georgia on May 15, Howser reached the trail's halfway point in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, just north of Gettysburg, in 43 days. She gets choked up as she recalls her battle to quit smoking after suffering a heart attack three years ago. "It was the fight of my life," she says.
October 13, 2009 |
The National Museum of American Jewish History will open on Independence Mall in 13 months, and planners are already giving serious thought to security. City Council's Streets and Services Committee today will consider legislation to prohibit newspaper boxes on the sidewalks near the museum, now being built at 5th and Market streets. Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced the legislation Sept. 24. His aide Brian Abernathy said that it had come at the request of the museum after concerns about explosive devices and other threats.
October 8, 2009
Meet the new Barnes Foundation museum, just like the old Barnes - only its Philadelphia home will be far better-suited to an extraordinary art collection, all housed at a world-class location. With the unveiling of a design for what Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron described as "a gracious, golden-hued temple - contemporary . . . yet almost classical," the Barnes is shaping up to be everything promised by its move from Lower Merion. The long-awaited plans for the $200 million museum received approval by the Philadelphia Art Commission yesterday.
September 26, 2009 |
They're stored in crates, bubble wrap, and archival boxes, locked away and awaiting their fate at an undisclosed Philadelphia storage facility. Under the packaging are wool uniforms and glistening swords worn by great generals of the Civil War, men who helped preserve the Union. Next to them are muskets, sidearms, and flags carried into desperate battles that determined the nation's fate. Since the closing of the Civil War Museum on Pine Street more than a year ago, at least 3,000 artifacts have been unseen by the public.
September 17, 2009 |
Jim Henson wanted to make the world a better place, and he did. But back in the 1960s, Henson also wanted to come up with a funny way to sell Linit Fabric Finish and Pak-Nit pre-shrunk fabric, and he did that, too. (For the latter, he dreamed up two Hansel-and-Gretel-ish creatures, Shrinkel and Stretchel, who get thrown into an oven by a witch and live to tell the tale, with no marked size change.) At various times in his life, on avenues other than Sesame Street, Henson sought to explore surrealistic themes of time and confinement, fantasy and world peace, human emotions and futility, all through visual metaphors of Muppetness and Dali-ness, the mystical and the mythological, with a bit of Tolkienesque sci-fi thrown in. Not only that, but the creator of Kermit the Frog and the genius behind the Muppets, who died in 1990 at age 53, dreamed of building a pink psychedelic nightclub in the shape of a geodesic dome.
July 5, 2009 |
Tall, fair-haired, and patrician, strongly emitting that ineffable thing called presence, Timothy Rub is wandering through the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art late one recent night like a kid let loose in a candy shop. "Isn't that fantastic?" he says, sidling up to Monet's Water Lilies, Japanese Footbridge. "This is a superb painting. " He points out the unusual thickness of paint and the diffuse ochres, tans, and greens that make the piece seem almost more abstract than impressionist.
July 4, 2009 |
The news that planners of the American Revolution Center would abandon Valley Forge for Philadelphia generated real excitement in the city. Because, after all, what Philadelphia needs is another Revolutionary-era attraction. Right now, the city offers only the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House. And Carpenters' Hall. And the First Bank of the United States. And Christ Church, City Tavern, the Merchants' Exchange, Fireman's Hall, Congress Hall, the Powel House, Franklin Court, the Graff House, Society Hill, Old St. Joseph's Church, and the Todd House.
April 22, 2009 |
Ask most folks where Valley Forge is, and you'll get the local answer: "Down the street from the King of Prussia Mall. " Well, anyway, that's where Pennsylvania designated Valley Forge to be when it was declared a state park in 1893. Given all the unwarranted controversy over a proposed new museum at the location, it's important to remember that there doesn't seem to be any record or detailed map of all that the encampment involved. We know that Gen. George Washington kept lookouts on Rebel Hill, near Conshohocken, to watch for British soldiers coming from Philadelphia.