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The Philadelphia Museum of Art welcomes and connects visitors with disabilities to the world of art through a wide variety of accessible means and programs.

The Office of Accessible Programs can be reached at:


Map showing the accessible entrance to the Main & Perelmen buildings.

Arriving

The West Entrance on Anne d’Harnoncourt Drive is barrier free. Accessible parking for vehicles displaying the appropriate disability permits is located adjacent to this entrance. This parking is available on a first-come, first served basis. There are also accessible parking spaces available in the Museum’s parking garage, which is across the street from this West Entrance. The #38 bus stops on Anne d’Harnoncourt Drive in front of the West Entrance.

Mobility Three sizes of wheelchairs are available free of charge, on a first-come, first- served basis. They are located just inside each entrance. All floors are accessible by elevator. There is seating in about every third gallery. Adjustable height canes with rubber tips are available. The Restaurant, Café, and Museum Store are barrier-free.

Restrooms There is 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 maps of the Museum are available at Information Desks. Other Braille and large-print materials are available or may be ordered at: AccessProg@philamuseum.org Allow three weeks for an order to be completed. Audio tours are free for visitors with visual impairments. They are located at the Admissions Desks.

Sign Language Interpreters are available free of charge. Allow two weeks’ notice to schedule an interpreter. 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 Tour Guide) and for programs in the Van Pelt Auditorium (ask at the Information Desk). Neck loops and print scripts are also available for audio tours. 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 on line 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 visitor’s comments and requests, the Museum’s mission, and by Federal, State, and City laws. We appreciate your participation in this process.



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, cognitive, and communication impairments, 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.



Art Making Course for Adults Who Are Blind

The Museum’s Form in Art program combines art-making studio classes and the study of art history into a unique course for legally blind adults. About 20 percent of people who are legally blind can see nothing at all. The rest have some residual vision, which varies greatly from person to person. More people are visually impaired than are blind.

Visual description and touch tours by specially trained guides help these students get an initial, objective experience of select objects in the Museum's galleries. Then, historical and subjective information and lectures by conservators and curators fill in this overview and teach them about the role of the art museum in our community. In the studio classes, artist instructors expose the students to a wide variety of materials and techniques to assist and encourage their self-expression. Volunteers help students with their art making processes. At the end of each year, 100 of their best works are exhibited in the Museum’s Education Corridor, which not only gives students a public voice and serves as a celebration of their efforts, but is also an inspiration to blind and sighted Museum visitors alike.

Four different Form in Art classes meet once a week for two 13 week semesters each year. There are about twelve students in each class. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are not required to have had previous art training before entering this Form in Art program. There is a $10 (beginners) or $40 (advanced) registration fee for each semester. The Museum provides all supplies and helps arrange and pays half of the students' transportation costs to and from the classes.

Fall semester: Friday, September 20 – Friday, December 13, 2013
Spring semester: Friday, February 7 – Friday, May 16, 2013



Workshops for Visitors With Cognitive Impairments

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

Recent projects have included multicolor block prints (using ball point pens to "carve into" balsa wood blocks), self-portraits in acrylic paint on 10 x 14–inch canvas board, and chairs designed and constructed from two pieces of 8 x 10–inch card stock Each project is designed to be successful for the wide range of participants' abilities. Everyone can take their artwork home with them when they leave. 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, or may be brought.

Cost:
$10.00 per person
Personal Attendants are admitted free



Bridges: Accessible Programs Builds 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 guided tours of the Museum’s collections throughout the year.

In response, they create their own works of art in their program’s studios and exhibit them at the Museum.

  • Participating Organizations 2012 – 2013
  • Inglis House
  • MAGEE Rehabilitation
  • MOSS Rehab
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Project HOME

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

Exhibition

August 7 through September 22, 2013
Education Corridor, ground floor



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.

In addition to the digitally illustrated presentation, some guides will include a few touchable, supplemental materials to illustrate the talk, which focuses on the exhibition, the history of selected objects, and the background of the artists. 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
Location: Your facility

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.

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.

Park House Guide Outreaches

Mount Pleasant

Fairmount Park Houses
Available Year-Round
This digitally illustrated lecture on the historic Fairmount Park Houses offers unique glimpses into early Philadelphia. Through these brilliantly preserved mansions, observe architectural and decorative styles of the day and learn more about the lives of prominent Philadelphians in colonial times. The lecture includes Mount Pleasant, Cedar Grove, Woodford Mansion, Lemon Hill, Sweetbriar, Strawberry Mansion, and Laurel Hill.

Perelman Building

The Perelman Building
Available Year-Round
With its gleaming rows of windows, bright interior, and twin cathedral-like entrances, the landmark Art Deco building on Fairmount and Pennsylvania avenues was called "the Gateway to Fairmount Park" when it opened in 1927 as the headquarters for the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company. It has now been dramatically recast in a new role as the gateway to the future for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Set within a lively urban neighborhood, commanding a spectacular view of Fairmount Park, and just across the street from the Museum's main building, the new galleries and study centers showcase some of the Museum's most comprehensive, colorful, and cutting-edge collections.

Waterworks

The Waterworks
Available Year-Round
Philadelphia was the first city in the Colonies to regard the consistent delivery of safe drinking water to its citizens as a municipal responsibility. It named a Watering Committee in the late 1700’s which eventually had the Water Works built on the eastern banks of the Schuylkill River. Learn about the history of the Water Works - its many lives (including how the Art Museum came to be built on top of the old reservoir), its almost demise, and its revitalization.



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 Joseph Kennard Skilling Trust, the Betty Harbison Memorial Fund, and Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson.

For more information, please contact Accessible Programs by e-mail at .

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