The history of the United States is brought to life in the Museum's American Art galleries, with three centuries of painting, furniture, sculpture, and decorative arts. Many of the objects on view also place a special emphasis on Philadelphia’s rich traditions.
Discover portraits, landscapes, and figure paintings alongside magnificent examples of furniture and silver
Here, you will find important portraits, landscapes, and figure paintings by 18th- and 19th-century masters, as well as magnificent examples of Colonial and Federal furniture and silver. The arts of rural Pennsylvania join an unmatched collection of Tucker porcelains, design books, papers, and tools. There are also several hundred American glass objects and their European prototypes, a wonderful group of Shaker works, and fine contemporary crafts.
Changing displays of modern and contemporary art can also be found in the American galleries. These rotating installations may highlight work by the Pennsylvania Impressionists, the "Ash Can" realists of the early 20th century, or African American artists.
The Angel of Purity (Maria Mitchell Memorial)
Gallery 120, first floor
Beautiful and solemn, Augustus Saint-Gaudens' marble figure honors Maria Gouverneur Mitchell, who died of diphtheria in 1898 at the age of 22. Her bereft parents, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell and Mary Cadwalader Mitchell, commissioned this monument for Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, where Maria had taught children’s classes.
Transplanted/Transformed: German and Pennsylvania German Decorative Arts, 1650–1850
Gallery 286, second floor
This installation pairs objects that were made in both central Europe and Pennsylvania to illustrate the transfer of artistic traditions from the Old World to the New.
Gallery 106, first floor
With more than 450 objects, the Museum's McNeil Collection of American Presidential China is the finest such collection outside the White House. The selection of 50 choice objects on view here offers a unique glimpse at the evolution of the taste, style, and aspirations of the United States.
Ezekiel Hersey Derby House
Gallery 289, second floor
This room comes from the Salem, Massachusetts home of Ezekiel Hersey Derby, son of the powerful and wealthy post-Revolutionary merchant Elias Hasket Derby. Its style reflects the Neoclassical aesthetic that was popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries, as seen in the ornamental woodwork, plaster frieze, and ceiling medallion here.
Powel House Room
Gallery 287, second floor
This period room was the second floor front parlor of Powel House, home of prominent colonial Philadelphians Samuel and Elizabeth Powel. Its decorative Palladian-style architecture witnessed a number of festive colonial events, and creates an ideal setting for the Museum's collection of furniture from another esteemed colonial family, the Cadwaladers.
African American Artists
Galleries 101, 104, 107, 109-111, and 116, first floor
The Museum’s growing collection of more than 600 works by African American artists includes paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, furniture, silver, textiles and costume from the early 19th-century to the present. Masterpieces by Henry Ossawa Tanner and others are on view in the American galleries, while fragile textiles and works on paper appear on rotation in special installations and exhibitions.
Please note, many of the objects on view in these galleries rotate periodically.
Gallery 285, second floor
First installed in the Museum in the mid-1920s, this colonial Pennsylvania-German kitchen comes from a home in Millbach Township, about 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The traditional center of the family household, this kitchen is outfitted with period architecture, furnishings, and decor illustrating the Germanic tradition in colonial America.