Museum events to check out this summer with the family

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The sunny season is finally here, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore Philadelphia with the whole family. Here are some museum exhibitions happening in the city.

Barnes Museum

It’s time for another PECO Free First Family Sunday from the Barnes, and this weekend’s theme is Cultivating Culture. Taking place this Sunday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission will be free to the museum, plus, families will be able to partake in informative and fun activities tied to the event.

Highlights include storytime, art activities, the venue’s popular scavenger hunt, plus performances of Cambodian dance from Khmer Performing Arts and Culture (KPAC) where locals can learn more about how this group uses music and dance to uphold Cambodian traditions in the city. Participation also includes access to the first-floor collection galleries.

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As an extra bonus, on June 4, families can return to the Barnes for an Artist Talk with Mark Thomas Gibson. As a release notes, Gibson, now based in Philadelphia, works across a range of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and prints, to deliver “incisive, witty, and visually compelling commentary on American culture.” At the event next Tuesday, Gibson will discuss his creative process as well as his experience participating in Miami MoCAAD’s ‘This Life: Black Life in the Time of Now’an augmented and virtual reality exhibition exploring contemporary Black existence.

This particular event will be both online and on-site from 6 to 7 p.m., members and students can participate for free, tickets for everyone else range from $8-$10.

2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway,

American Swedish Historical Museum

Later in June, the American Swedish Historical Museum will be celebrating a popular Swedish holiday right here in Philadelphia. Midsommarfest is a play on Midsommar, one of Sweden’s most important holidays and a day to rejoice in the coming of summer at a time when daylight is at its longest. 

The ASHM’s celebration will take place on June 22, from 4 to 7 p.m., and will feature activations for the whole family. Highlights include traditional Swedish food, live music provided by the Last Chance duo, games and activities, plus, flower crowns and refreshments will be available for purchase. Visitors can also check out the museum’s Swedish used book sale and Mormor’s Attic Shop, which is filled with “second-hand treasures.” 

Tickets are $8 for ASHM members, $10 for nonmembers, $5 for children 5-12, and children under 5 are free. Tickets are available at the gate or online.  

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1900 Pattison Ave.,

Eastern State Penitentiary

This summer is full of opportunities to explore the ESP with the whole family. Summer Nights is a new activation from the cultural site, and it features talks, film screenings, and interactive experiences with a focus on the “profound impact of recreation on prison life.” Activations will take place every Friday and Saturday from June 7 through July 27, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Activities include a themed pop-up exhibition of historic artifacts, themed guide-led tours, scavenger hunts, movie nights, wiffle ball, and more for the whole family. Parents will also be able to indulge in the Fair Chance Beer Garden from Triple Bottom Brewing onsite, but all ages can enjoy the local food vendors also in attendance.

There will also be some future themed nights to look out for: Game night will be on June 15, a reentry simulation on June 29, field day on July 6, and movie night on July 13. As the release notes, all flagship programs, such as “The Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour via QR code, exhibits, and art installations, are also included with Summer Nights admission.

family museum Philly
Eastern State Penitentiary

“We are thrilled to launch Summer Nights,” says Dr. Kerry Sautner, President & CEO of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in a statement. “Sports, art, and team activities not only offer recreational value, but also inspire creativity, strategic thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. We hope that visitors who join us for Summer Nights will have fun, and also that they will reflect on their own life experiences and consider some of the universal human experiences that connect us all.”

Tickets range from $23-$30.

2027 Fairmount Ave.,