Learn and explore for Museum Week

Take advantage of discounts and new exhibits for Museum Week – now through May 3.

There are countless museums in the United States, but some of the best museums in the country can be found in Philadelphia. Museum Week, which continues through May 3, serves as a perfect opportunity to visit the city’s museums.

Peggy Amsterdam, president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, said this is an ­­­­­­­exciting experience Philadelphia has to offer.

“Our region stands out for its incredibly rich selection of museums, science centers, historical sites and gardens,” Amsterdam said. “From cutting-edge art to some of the most historically significant collections in the world, Philadelphia is second to none.”

Museum Week is held in conjunction with the 2009 American Association of Museums Conference. More than 6,000 museum professionals from all over the country will come to Philadelphia to talk about topics that remain relevant, real and responsive in today’s hard times.

Museum Week will offer special exhibits and collections from 55 participating regional museums. There will also be discounted admissions prices, shopping and other amenities. Look out for these four exhibits:

Cézanne and Beyond
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Anyone who loves art and its history will appreciate “Cézanne and Beyond” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibit holds 40 paintings, 20 of which are watercolor paintings and drawings by Paul Cézanne, an influential post-impressionist painter whose work laid the foundation for the transition from 19th-century impressionism to 20th-century cubism. He was inspired by artists like Camille Pissaro, and it is said that Cézanne has inspired countless other artists as well.

This exhibit goes “beyond,” as its title suggests, by featuring works from other artists like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Fernand Léger.

Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy
The Franklin Institute Science Museum
222 N. 20th St.

“Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy” honors Galileo and his contributions to science, particularly in the field of astronomy. Galileo is credited with inventing the working telescope. For the first time ever, one of his two remaining telescopes will leave Italy. The exhibition will also showcase his accomplishments in other areas of his life, including his relationship with the Medici family, a powerful and influential family from Florence, Italy. Galileo’s property and artifacts from the Medicis will also be featured.

The exhibition will last from 40 to 50 minutes and will showcase how science, art and political power came together to pave the road for Galileo’s successes.

America I AM: The African-American Imprint
The National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.

There is no better time to visit the National Constitution Center. It is currently hosting “America I AM: The African American Imprint,” which will end May 3. Developed in part by Tavis Smiley, an NAACP Image Award-winning journalist, the exhibition displays 400 years of African-American history. It highlights the economic, social, political and cultural contributions African Americans have made not only in the United States but around the world. It also features pivotal points for African Americans, including President Barack Obama’s presidential win.

What makes the exhibition truly special is that it gives visitors the chance to leave their “imprints” by recording a video about their own African-American experiences, becoming a part of the exhibition themselves.

Spirit of Competition
Simeone Foundation Museum
6825-31 Norwitch Drive

For those looking for something different, Simeone Foundation Museum is the place to go. Owned by Fred Simeone, a renowned former neurosurgeon, the museum is dedicated to the evolution of racing cars and features a collection of 60 exotic racecars from around the world.

The central theme of the collection is the “Spirit of Competition.” Simeone said he feels racing improves the human breed. Those who are interested in cars will also appreciate the museum for the quality of the cars. Ranging from exotic Alfa Romeos and Bentleys to Ferraris and Bugattis, the cars in the exhibit were built for sport and speed and have been restored to their original racing forms.

The museum even goes as far as to recreate the scenes and backgrounds from various racing tracks to create the ultimate experience.

Christeen Vilbrun can be reached at christeen.vilbrun@temple.edu.

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