Why Was the Philadelphia Museum of Art Built?

Art|Art Museum

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the United States and is a source of immense pride for the city. The museum was founded in 1876, and has since grown to become one of the most important cultural institutions in the US. Its vast collection consists of works from all over the world, spanning multiple centuries and cultures. It has been a hub for artistic expression, education, and appreciation for over a century.

The museum’s founding was largely due to the efforts of philanthropist and civic leader John F. Lewis. He wished to create an art museum that would serve as a cultural center for Philadelphia residents, and thus began fundraising efforts to make his dream a reality. The museum’s initial collection was relatively small, consisting primarily of European paintings from the 14th-19th centuries. However, it quickly grew due to generous donations from wealthy patrons, including many notable artists such as Mary Cassatt and Thomas Eakins.

In addition to its impressive collection, the museum is also renowned for its architecture. The building itself was designed by Horace Trumbauer, who had previously worked on many other prominent buildings in Philadelphia such as City Hall and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

His design was heavily influenced by various Neo-Classical styles such as Beaux-Arts and Greek Revival. It stands as an impressive example of late 19th century architecture.

At its core,the Philadelphia Museum of Art was built to provide cultural enrichment to its visitors while preserving important works of art from around the world. With its diverse collections, stunning architecture, educational programs, and public events, it has accomplished this goal with flying colors since its inception over 140 years ago.


The Philadelphia Museum of Art was built in order to provide cultural enrichment for citizens of Philadelphia while also preserving important works from around the world. John F. Lewis’ vision has been realized through generous donations from patrons over time and stunning Neo-Classical architecture which has made it into one of America’s most important cultural institutions.