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Accessibility at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

We welcome and connect visitors with disabilities to the world of art through a wide variety of accessible means and programs. Contact the Office of Accessible Programs at .

Website Accessibility

We are committed to making the content on this website accessible to all people with disabilities. Our efforts to improve the website’s accessibility are ongoing. If you have questions or concerns, contact us at . We will make all reasonable efforts to make the content accessible for you.

Planning Your Visit

Barrier-Free Entry & Accessible Parking: The main building’s West Entrance (on Anne d’Harnoncourt Drive) is barrier free. Accessible parking for vehicles displaying disability permits is adjacent to this entrance, available on a first-come, first served basis. Accessible parking also available in the Museum’s Parking Garage, which is across the street from the West Entrance. SEPTA’s 38 bus stops in front of the West Entrance on Anne d’Harnoncourt Drive.

Mobility: Free wheelchairs (3 sizes) are available free of charge inside each entrance, first-come, first-served. All floors are accessible by elevator. Seating in about every third gallery. Adjustable height canes with rubber tips available. The Museum Café and Store are barrier-free.

Restrooms & Drinking Fountains: An accessible restroom on each floor and drinking fountains on the ground and first floors. If you need a unisex restroom, ask a Security Officer to clear a restroom and stand guard while you use it.

Service dogs are permitted in the building. They must obey the same policies as all other visitors.

Large-print, Braille, and raised line Museum maps available at Information Desks. Other Braille and large-print materials are available or may be ordered at AccessProg@philamuseum.org (allow three weeks). Audio tours are free for visitors with visual impairments; they are available at the Admissions Desks.

Sign Language Interpreters are available free of charge. Allow two weeks’ notice. Other types of interpreters and print materials are also available.

Assistive Listening devices FM assistive listening devices, including induction (neck) loops, are available for guided tours (ask your guide). Neck loops and print scripts of audio tours are available. Closed captioning is available on all Museum-produced videos. There is a courtesy telephone in the West Entrance vestibule and a TTY in the Education offices.

Technology Devices include an online collections database; Wifi within the Great Stair Hall, Lenfest Hall (West Entrance), Balcony Café and Cafeteria; podcasts, apps, and audio tours via audio players and cell phone.

Your Feedback Is Important

The creation and maintenance of accessibility for people with disabilities at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is guided by visitors’ comments and requests, the Museum’s mission, and by Federal, State, and City laws. We appreciate your participation in this process. If you have questions or concerns about accessibility at the Museum or on our website, contact us at 



Programs

Admission and Registration

  • All programs require registration. To reserve your space, email: .
  • General admission fees for individuals and groups of people with disabilities who schedule through the office of Accessible Programs are $8 per person.
  • Personal Attendants of individuals with disabilities are admitted free of charge. Limit of one attendant per individual.



Guided Tours

As part of the Museum's mission to make the visual arts accessible to everyone, a variety of tours are offered to help visitors with disabilities get the most from their visit. Led by specially trained, experienced Museum Guides, these tours include:

Specially Adapted Tours

Specially adapted tours are available by prearrangement for individuals or groups with mobility, hearing, visual, intellectual, or other disabilities. These themed tours are developed around the needs and interests of the participants and can focus on any aspect of the Museum’s collections and exhibitions. Touchable and visual materials often supplement descriptions and discussions.

Sign Language Interpreted Tours

Sign Language interpreted tours of the Museum’s collections and exhibitions are available by prearrangement for individuals and groups who are Deaf. FM assistive listening devices, with headphones or neck loops, are available for use on any tour, just ask your Tour Guide. Printed scripts of audio tours are also available.

Touch Tours

Select, original, three dimensional works of art in the Museum's collections are available for visitors who are blind or visually impaired to experience through touch. A Museum Guide's visual descriptions of the objects are supplemented by the visitor’s guided touching of them. A maximum of two to three visitors with each Museum Guide facilitates optimal enjoyment of these tours. Several Guides may conduct each tour. Touch Tour topics include>>

  • Modern and Contemporary Art: focusing on the human figure, this tour includes styles from the very realistic to the very abstract. One of the objects is the 13-foot stainless steel sculpture Two Box Structure (1961) by David Smith.
  • Nineteenth-Century European Art: includes the life-size bronze sculpture The Large Bather and the 2-foot-tall bronze bas-relief Tambourine Dancer I, both by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
  • European Decorative Arts and Sculpture: includes a Medieval cloister with a marble fountain, columns and capitals, as well as the 3-foot-tall sculpture Virgin and Child (c. 1350).
  • East Asian Art: includes an 18-inch stone head from Cambodia, a wood and iron object from Korea, and the complete Japanese Teahouse Sunkaraku (c. 1917) from Tokyo.
  • Indian and Himalayan Art: includes an Indian Temple Hall (c. 1525–50), from Madurai, India, with intricately carved figures covering its 26 granite columns, and a 4-foot-tall depiction of Durga as the Slayer of the Demon Nishumbha (c. 950) as well as Seated Lion (c. 650) from southern India.
  • The Rodin Museum: Located at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street, this tour includes numerous sculptures by French artist Auguste Rodin, including his 20 x 13 feet Gates of Hell, the life-size Colossal Head of Balzac, The Burghers of Calais, and The Hand of God.

Touchable Interpretations of Paintings

These three-dimensional representations of select paintings in the Museum’s permanent collections allow blind, visually impaired, and sighted visitors alike to experience masterpieces from the collections that otherwise may not be touched. Each interpretation consists of three parts>>

  • A visual description that gives an objective overview of and then "builds" the painting, step by step
  • A series of black-and-white, raised-line, textured diagrams that illustrate each step in building the paining
  • A 2 to 6-inch-thick sculptural representation of the painting that is colored and textured to resemble the original subjects in the painting

Paintings include: Still Life with Apples and a Glass of Wine by Paul Cézanne, Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh, and Saint Francis of Assissi Receiving the Stigmata by Jan van Eyck.

Hands-On Object Kits

Visitors who learn best by manipulating materials may make arrangements to examine reproductions of objects with a Museum guide before their gallery tour. Hands-On Object Kits relate to tour themes, including Asian Art, Medieval Art, Nineteenth-Century European Art, and Twentieth-Century Art.



Workshops for Visitors With Intellectual Disabilities

Several times a year, workshops are offered to individuals or groups of people with cognitive & communication impairments and developmental Disabilities. Each workshop includes a one-hour, guided tour in the Museum's galleries and a two-hour studio class. Experience is not required.

We also use this same workshop model for older adults, people with early stage dementia, and for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their care partners.

Recent projects have included multicolor wood block prints (using ball point pens to "carve into" balsa wood blocks), self-portraits in acrylic paint on 10 x 14–inch canvas board, chairs designed and constructed from two pieces of 8 x 10–inch card stock, and various techniques for working with clay, to name but a few. Each project is designed to be successful for the wide range of participants' abilities. Everyone takes their artwork home with them that same day. . Participants’ artwork is periodically exhibited in the Museum’s Education Corridor.

Schedule Workshops are scheduled at various times throughout the year. Classes always start at 10:30 am in the Education Studios, and end at 1:30 pm. If you wish, there can be a half-hour break for lunch. Food is available in the Museum Café.

Cost:
$10.00 per person
Personal Attendants are admitted free of charge, maximum one per person.



Bridges: Accessible Programs Build Partnerships

Through the visual arts, we build a bridge that helps individuals who are overcoming adversity improve their quality of life. The bridge is a specially designed art making project that connects community programs with the Museum’s collections.

Participants take multiple guided tours of the Museum’s collections throughout the year with the same museum guide. In response, they create their own works of art in their program’s studios and exhibit them at the Museum in the summer.

Participating Organizations have included: CATCH, Community Council Health Systems, Inglis, Magee Rehabilitation, Melmark, MossRehab, Pennswood Village, Project HOME, and SpArc Services.

Registration required. $8.00 per person, per tour. Personal attendants, one per person, free of charge.



Outreach Presentations at Your Facilities

Groups who can no longer come to the Museum due to age-related limitations or disabilities can still maintain their connection to the art world. With digitally illustrated lectures led by trained Museum Guides, they may experience the excitement of special exhibitions or selected works from the Museum's permanent collections in the comfort and familiarity of their own facility.

Lectures last approximately one hour. Please make reservations early (at least three weeks in advance).

The Museum Guide will bring a laptop computer with the selected presentation. All organizations must provide their own digital projector and must have someone who is knowledgeable about the equipment on hand to assist with the needs of the residents and the speaker. If you do not have a projector, please contact the office of Accessible Programs to make alternative arrangements. All organizations should provide a white screen or wall in a darkened room. A Microphone is also recommended.

Cost: $125

Permanent Collection Outreaches

Noh Robe (Uwagi)
Highlights of the Collection
Available Year-Round
The Museum's vast collection of fine and applied arts from Asia, Europe, and the United States is highlighted through this digitally illustrated lecture program. Spanning over 2,000 years, the collections include masterpieces of painting, sculpture, prints, and drawings displayed with a wide range of furniture, silver, glasswork, architectural elements, and entire furnished period rooms from historic houses.

Jackie (Four Jackies) (Portraits of Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy)
20th Century Painting and Sculpture
Available Year-Round
The Museum’s superb collection of modern and contemporary art is among the most distinguished in the world. Highlights include an extraordinary concentration of work by artistic giants such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Henri Matisse, as well as American Modernists like Georgia O’Keeffe. The expanding contemporary collections include major works by Jasper Johns and Sol LeWitt, along with younger artists who are breaking new ground today.

A Huntsman and Dogs
The American Collection
Available Year-Round
The history of the United States is brought to life through the Museum’s American collections, which survey three centuries of paintings, furniture, sculpture, and decorative arts with a special emphasis on Philadelphia’s rich traditions. The collections include important portraits, landscapes, and figure paintings by eighteenth and nineteenth-century masters, including the country’s finest group of work by Philadelphia’s Thomas Eakins.

Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic)
An Eakins Masterpiece Restored: Seeing The Gross Clinic Anew
Available Year-Round
Acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2007 after a stirring public campaign to keep the painting in Philadelphia, Thomas Eakins’ masterpiece, Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic) of 1875, has been cleaned and restored for the first time in almost fifty years. The painting emerges from the conservation studio as the centerpiece of this exhibition, which throws new light on a work acclaimed as the greatest American painting of the nineteenth century.

Inviting visitors to see this celebrated painting afresh, the exhibition first evokes the experience of The Gross Clinic in Eakins’s own day. Aiming to make an international impression at the Centennial Exhibition, which took place in Philadelphia in 1876, the young and ambitious Eakins (1844–1916) prepared a monumental modern history painting celebrating the nation’s most famous surgeon, Dr. Samuel Gross of Jefferson Medical College (now part of Thomas Jefferson University). Rejected by the jury as too gruesome for the art galleries, however, the picture was installed among the medical displays of the U. S. Army model post hospital.

Eakins’s preparatory studies for the painting, X-radiographs of the canvas, historical images of The Gross Clinic, and a video documentary help visitors understand how the painting was made, how it looked in 1875, and how and why it has changed over time.



Sponsors

Accessible Programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are generously supported by The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Weekday Guides Program, The Parkinson Council, the Joseph Kennard Skilling Trust, and the Betty Harbison Memorial Fund.

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