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Six Philadelphia Cultural Institutions Jointly Announce 2021 Reopening

Continued health & safety measures for staff and visitors, extended hours, and special exhibitions announced or extended

PHILADELPHIA, January 4, 2021

Following the recent temporary closures mandated by state and city officials to limit the spread of COVID-19, in effect since November 20, 2020, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, The Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have jointly announced plans to reopen in January with continued health and safety measures in place for staff and visitors. Eastern State Penitentiary plans to reopen in March and the Rodin Museum will reopen later in the spring.


The Franklin Institute plans to reopen on Wednesday, January 6, followed by the Academy of Natural Sciences on Friday, January 8. The Barnes Foundation also plans to reopen on January 8, with extended hours on select days to provide additional opportunities for visitors to experience the Elijah Pierce’s America exhibition, which has been extended through Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18, 2021. The Philadelphia Museum of Art plans to reopen on January 8, with new Friday through Monday hours and pay-what-you-wish admission on Friday evenings. PAFA plans to reopen on Thursday, January 21. All plans and reopening dates are subject to change based on guidance from state and city officials.


Cultural institutions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Eastern State Penitentiary, and PAFA first reopened in late summer, following thorough planning and close coordination with elected officials, medical professionals, and one another. The institutions will continue vigilant, carefully developed health and safety protocols as they once again welcome visitors for rejuvenating cultural experiences, with the well-being and safety of staff and visitors as the utmost priority. Comprehensive health and safety protocols are posted on each institution’s website.


Further details on opening dates and special exhibitions on view, are listed below:

  • The Franklin Institute – Public opening: Wednesday, January 6, 10 am – 5 pm
    • World-premiere exhibition, Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition, opens February 13.
    • Hours: Wednesday Friday, 10 am5 pm; Saturday Sunday, 10 am6 pm; closed: Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of Monday, January 18, 10 am5 pm.
  • Academy of Natural Sciences – Public opening: Friday, January 8, 11 am – 5 pm
    • Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs opens January 8
    • Hours: Fridays – Sundays, 11 am5 pm, with members-only from 1011 am each day
    • Monday, January 18, 11 am5 pm, with members-only from 1011 am
      • The Barnes Foundation – Public opening: Friday, January 8, 11 am – 5 pm
        • Saturday, January 9 – Monday, January 11, 11 am–5 pm
        • Thursday, January 14, 11 am–5 pm (ADDITIONAL OPEN DAY)
        • Friday, January 15 & Saturday, January 16, 9 am–6 pm (EXTENDED HOURS)
        • Sunday, January 17 & Monday, January 18, 11 am–5 pm
          • Regular open hours: Fridays–Mondays, 11 am–5 pm, (10–11 am members-only hour)
          • Elijah Pierce’s America (Extended through January 18, 2021)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art – Public opening: Friday, January 8, 10 am – 8:45 pm
    • Saturday, January 9 – Monday, January 11, 10 am–5 pm
    • Friday, January 15, 10 am–8:45 pm (pay-what-you-wish)
      • Rodin Museum A spring reopening will be announced at a later date.
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Public opening: Thursday, January 21, 10 am 4 pm
    • Hours: Thursday Friday, 10 am4 pm; Saturday Sunday, 11 am5 pm; closed: Mondays through Wednesdays
    • World-premiere exhibitions: Taking Space, Only Tony, and Roll, Press, Pull


  • Eastern State Penitentiary – Public opening: March 2021


Joint statement from cultural leaders:

“With the advent of a new year, we are grateful for the opportunity to welcome our visitors once again. Despite the continued challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resilience of the cultural sector shines through and cultural experiences remain essential to the well-being of the human spirit, providing inspiration, enrichment, and rejuvenation. Undoubtedly, the role of Philadelphia’s museums and cultural organizations will be a critical one in the region’s recovery.”

Signed by:

Scott Cooper, President and CEO, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President, 
The Barnes Foundation

Sara Jane Elk, President and CEO, 
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Larry Dubinski, President and CEO, The Franklin Institute

Brooke Davis Anderson, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum, 
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Timothy Rub, George D. Widener, Director and CEO, 
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Gail Harrity, President, 
Philadelphia Museum of Art




Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University:
Carolyn Belardo, Director of Public Relations,

The Barnes Foundation:
Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications

Eastern State Penitentiary:
Nicole Frankhouser, Director of Marketing and Communications
215.236.5111 x219,

The Franklin Institute:
Stefanie Santo, Director of Media Relations and Communications

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts:
Ryan Burton-Romero, Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management & Strategic Communication

Philadelphia Museum of Art:
Norman Keyes, Director of Communications