Museum exhibits you can’t miss in Philly

museum exhibits in Philly, things to do in Philly
The Philadelphia Show will take place in April.

If you’re a museum-lover, there is a ton to see this spring in Philadelphia. And Metro has the ultimate guide on where to go and what to see.


The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) are teaming up for a new exhibition, titled ‘Rising Sun: Artists in An Uncertain America.’ The showcase opens this week on March 23, and will be housed in both venues (which are just a 15-minute walk from each other.) 

‘Rising Sun’ overall features 20 artists, all of whom were asked “is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?” The immersive art experience also inspired both institutions to host a special series of collaborative programming that will complement it. And to make it easier to see both, AAMP and PAFA have partnered with the Philadelphia Visitor Center to offer joint, reduced admission tickets to ‘Rising Sun’, which are now available to purchase online through the Philadelphia Visitor Center.

museum exhibits in Philly

Multiple locations,

Independence Seaport Museum

The Penn’s Landing venue is debuting its new Richard C. von Hess Foundation Gallery, dedicated to showcasing never-before-seen items from its collections through the new exhibition, ‘At the Water’s Edge: Working and living along the Delaware River’ next month. Overall, the new showcase at the ISM is meant to show the importance of the River, as well as highlighting the people who lived and worked on it— from sailors to ironworkers, to canal boatmen to newly arrived immigrants seeking economic and religious freedom. 

As a release states, ‘At the Water’s Edge’ is highlighted by a recently acquired rare piece, a portrait of “Alice,” a 19th-century artifact showing an enslaved woman from Philadelphia. Alice managed and operated Dunk’s Ferry (going from present-day Neshaminy State Park, PA to Edgewater, NJ), where she transported passengers, wagons, and cargoes for 40 years. This new exhibition opens to the public on Friday, April 14, and will remain on display in the Richard C. von Hess Foundation Gallery through May 2025.

211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard,

Pew Center and Institute on Disabilities 

Next month, a new limited-run exhibit will pop-up at Philadelphia’s Arch Street Meeting House, and it comes from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. This showcase, titled ‘File/Life: We Remember Stories of Pennhurst’ is described as being part installation, part event, and part community gathering. 

According to a release, working in collaboration with a team of artists, seven archivists (all people with disabilities and/or family members) spent the last 20 months sharing stories from Pennhurst’s archives that made them listen, feel, imagine, and remember. More than anything, the archived files that were used for this project highlight how society viewed people with disabilities and their families. 

The exhibition will feature a series of interactive, “case files” that tell the stories of six individuals, among other methods of storytelling. ‘File/Life’ will be on display from April 20 to 23. 

museum exhibits in Philly
Members of the File/Life team.Provided

320 Arch Street,

The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes’ spring exhibit—’Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember’ —is already on display for the public, and will remain open until May 21 of this year. The exhibit ultimately is a cross-generational dialogue featuring two of South Africa’s contemporary artists as they reflect on moments that bring them together. 

In their respective practices, Sue Williamson (b. 1941) and Lebohang Kganye (b. 1990) incorporate oral histories into films, photographs, installations, and textiles to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities, as the official website states. More information can be found online. 

2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway,

The Philadelphia Show

This isn’t exactly a museum exhibit, but it is the nation’s leading art, antique and design fair. Taking place from April 28 to 30, This particular event dates back to 1962, when it was called the University Hospital Antiques Show. The annual pop-up, which was organized by Penn Medicine until 2018, summons a crowd every year to peruse through more than 40 of the most outstanding exhibitors in the U.S.

This year’s activation marks the 61st year for the show, and in it, Philadelphians can find a variety of fine art, collectible design, antiques, Americana, folk art, ceramics, porcelain, silver, jewelry, textiles and decorative arts. Now organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it’s also held at the cultural institution on its East Terrace. This year marks only the second time the show has called this venue home, and this go-around also serves as the launch of several new exhibitors, joining longstanding and returning galleries to showcase works spanning from the 16th to 21st centuries.

As a release states, with its core rooted in American art, the Philadelphia Show is further bolstered by international influences, with many galleries also showcasing important European and Asian works. While firmly established as a premier destination for antiques, The Philadelphia Show also welcomes dealers who specialize in underrepresented artists.

2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy,