Sightseeing in Drexel Hill

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The winner of seven consecutive Best Custom Framing awards from CityVoter users, Masterpieces Fine Art & Custom Framing stocks more than 2,300 frames, including work by industry mainstay Larson-Juhl. Its skilled framers meld function and aesthetic form to secure works of art in everything from American hardwood to 22-karat-gold-leafing frames to metal handcuffs. Aside from framing, the staff also restores faded or creased photos to their original vivid states and brings photos to life by converting them into imitation oil paintings or watercolors that look like they were born from hours of meticulous brushstrokes.

3547 W Chester Pike
Newtown Square,
PA
US

Opened on Independence Day, 2003, the National Constitution Center is more than a museum: it's an educational headquarters, a historical archive, and a town hall that functions on a national scale. Besides housing exhibits and historic artifacts, the museum is home to a national forum?it's hosted Democratic primary debates, town hall meetings on the campaign trail, and pivotal presidential speeches.

  • Size: large enough for patrons to meet each of the 42 original delegates, discover the Constitution's seven articles, learn about the 27 amendments, and read the kid's menu printed on the back of the historical document
  • Eye Catcher: the interactive theatrical productions Freedom Rising illuminates the story of the Constitution, as well as tracks the history of the nation from the Revolution to the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. A former First Lady even proclaimed, "I wanted to weep at the end of it."
  • Permanent Mainstay: along with Freedom Rising, the museum is home to two permanent exhibits?The Story of We the People, which has featured such artifacts as a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's robes, the Signers' Hall, populated by 42 bronze statues of the Founding Fathers, and Constituting Liberty, an exhibition that features rare copies of America?s three founding documents, including an original Bill of Rights.
  • Don't Miss: the rotating special exhibits, which have included examinations into the history of spycraft, sober examinations of the role slavery played in the American story, and an in-depth profile of Abraham Lincoln
525 Arch St.
Philadelphia,
PA
US

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) celebrates art from America's entire history. Its galleries take visitors on a chronological trip through the country's ever-changing aesthetic landscape, with special attention paid to sculptures, paintings, and paper works. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts also trains the next generation of artists, with full-time degree programs at the bachelor and masters levels.

  • Size: two buildings?The Historic Landmark Building and the contemporary Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
  • Eye Catcher: Gilbert Stuart?s 1796 painting George Washington (The Lansdowne Portrait)
  • Permanent Mainstay: Gallery 128, which showcases a rotating collection of works from current students, alumni, and faculty
  • Visiting Exhibit: Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on Paper, which encompasses more than 90 works (through October 12, 2014)
  • Don't Miss: Highway?George Tooker's 1953 painting depicting the challenges of living in New York City
  • Pro Tip: artists can bring a sketchbook (pencil only) into the the Historic Landmark Building, provided it doesn't exceed 12? x 16? or erupt with trumpet fanfares when opened
  • Special Programs: art-history lectures, evening gallery events, and continuing-education programs in drawing, painting, sculpture, and other mediums
118 N Broad St.
Philadelphia,
PA
US

When Samuel Vaughan Merrick and William H. Keating brought The Franklin Institute to life in 1824, it was to honor the life and achievements of Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin. In the decades since, the Institute has hosted further forward thinkers such as Nikola Tesla, who demonstrated wireless telegraphy in 1893, and helped advance science and technology, hosting the first public demo of an all-electronic TV system in 1934.

  • Size: three floors give voice to human ingenuity?past and future?with hundreds of interactive exhibits
  • Eye Catcher: the two-story-tall, 5,000-square-foot Giant Heart, which teaches children about cardiovascular health while they crawl through its chambers
  • Permanent Mainstay: Fels Planetarium, the second oldest planetarium in the nation, complete with a rooftop observatory and a 60-foot seamless aluminum dome
  • Hands-On Experiments: construct an interplanetary rover in the Space Command, complete an electrical circuit with your body, and launch a cannonball in Circus! Science Under the Big Top
  • Honor the Man: swing by the 20-foot-tall, 30-ton marble statue of Benjamin Franklin in the rotunda to see what the genius looked like and thank him for your bifocals
  • Don't Miss: the Maillardet Automaton, a boy-like drawing machine that inspired the film Hugo
222 North 20th St.
Philadelphia,
PA
US

The National Museum of American Jewish History's core exhibition traces more than 350 years of American Jewish history, documenting their triumphs and struggles since first settling in 1654. Spread across 25,000 square feet on five floors, the exhibition's historical objects and lifelike environments cover subjects such as the late 19th-century Jewish immigration and the involvement of American Jews in the Civil Rights Movement. As the exhibition moves into the present day, visitors can share their own stories and opinions in two of the museum's interactive stations: It's Your Story and the Contemporary Issues Forum. After sharing their own journeys, guests can explore the Only in America Gallery/Hall of Fame, where multimedia displays and original artifacts highlight the lives of prominent Jewish Americans, including Irving Berlin and Est?e Lauder.

Cups of Old City Coffee, baked goods from LeBus, and vegetarian and dairy cuisine from Di Bruno Bros. reenergize museum-goers at the Pomegranates Caf?; kosher fare is also available. Additional museum programming includes educational opportunities for adults and kids, as well as live events such as lectures, discussions, and concerts.

101 S Independence Mall E
Philadelphia,
PA
US

It's more than a collection of exhibits, galleries, and glass works?though it's all of those things, too. Above and beyond housing art, the National Liberty Museum aims to serve as a mirror to the unique kaleidoscope that is the United States. Visitors to the museum explore eight galleries, each organized to highlight a particular aspect of what it means to be American. Liberty Hall, for instance, houses a selection of White House fine china alongside medals awarded to members of the armed services, while Heroes Hall showcases glass sculptor Dale Chihuly's massive Flame of Liberty installation in celebration of brave individuals.

Regardless of how visitors tackle the museum?although they should never tackle it literally, due to the high volume of glass?they'll likely find themselves intrigued by the thought-provoking collection. When Irvin J. Borowsky founded the museum in 1995, he did so with just this intent, seeking to inspire others to pursue more peaceful lives. But Borowsky may never have envisioned the scale it would one day reach: 78 exhibits, 179 works of contemporary art, and thousands of stories vividly told.

321 Chestnut St
Philadelphia,
PA
US