The Philadelphia Sketch Club has been active for over 100 years. The Club allows artists of all ages and levels of expertise to hone their skills (or just have fun!) in a welcoming environment. The Club meets in three 19th century homes on Camac Street in Center City Philadelphia. Though started by only six Pennsylvania Academy of Art students, the Club has grown and expanded over time, moving to the current location and holding contests, exhibitions and classes year-round. The club boasts some famous alumni, including Thomas Eakins who taught at the school. Learn more about the Philadelphia Sketch Club’s .history, alumni and events on PhilaPlace.
November 7th, 2012
November 7th, 2012
Ever wonder what Philadelphia history exists north of Center City? This area’s historical treasures can often be overlooked as a tourist hotspot, but there are places to see! The Ryerrs Museum in Burholme Park has a wide array of objects from around the world – collected on the Ryerss’ trips abroad.They had rather eccentric taste in decoration and the museum’s display reflects this. Walking into the museum you’ll be met with scientific specimens, including plenty of taxidermy animals, and beautiful art, paintings, sculpture, plates and mugs. For generations, family members dedicated their lives to philanthropic causes and made a lasting impact on their community. Read about them on PhilaPlace!
April 13th, 2012
Have you been to the oldest street in the United States. Elfreth’s Alley, built in the early 1700s, has witnessed a lot of American history. There was the American Revolution in the 18th century, when the Alley housed both patriots and loyalists. Elfreth’s Alley also saw the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, when the majority of its occupants were Irish and German immigrants. In the 20th century, it had a bit of a revolution of its own.
By the early 1900s, Elfreth’s Alley had become decrepit and faced threats of demolition. The neighborhood did not stand for this and formed the Elfreth’s Alley Association. The Association raised funds to restore the Alley to its original glory. Read more about the Alley’s restoration here.
March 21st, 2012
Journeys South was a temporary public art project that drew inspiration from both oral and archival historical sources to trace the history of South Philadelphia as reflected in the legacies of immigration. It moved public art “off the wall” to examine the richly layered and evolving immigrant histories of South Philadelphia through four, interactive, community-based artworks that celebrated the stories of South Philadelphia.
The seven artists who collaborated on the four works used different media and techniques – from poetry and visual art to photography and choreography – to bring these stories to life.
While the original works are no longer on display, you can now see images of the works and read more about them here on PhilaPlace. Unique to PhilaPlace, you will find full transcripts of the interviews with South Philadelphia community members that inspired the project. Also unique to PhilaPlace are audio recordings of the poetry that formed the heart of “Neighbor Ballads” – one of the four artworks – read by artist Frank Sherlock.
Click here to start reading about this fascinating project!
March 21st, 2012
MSNBC once called the Mütter Museum one of the creepiest places in the world, and it’s true that its diverse collection of medical specimens can be seen as rather eerie, if educational. Not many of the Museum’s visitors know much about the larger organization of which it is a part — The College of Physicians in Philadelphia.
The College has a long history of attempting to better public health. It’s mission is to “advance the cause of health and uphold the ideals and heritage of medicne.” Its building on 22nd street not only houses the museum, but also its comprehensive library and a lecture hall. Learn more about the College’s history and current initiatives here.
The Museum itself was started after Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter bequeathed his collection of specimens to the college in 1856. He had used this assortment of both wet and dry objects to teach medicine and surgery, and wished them to continue to inform learners after his death. Read more about Mütter’s life here.
March 14th, 2012
The Bicentennial celebration in 1976 saw many events take place. Philadelphia commemorated the year with the opening of quite a few new institutions. Perhaps the most significant and timely was the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Mueum, today known as the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
By 1976, people understood that the independece fought for two centuries earlier had only applied to some Americans. The AAMP was founded to show the effects of the African diaspora and a neglected side of U. S. history. It was a combined effort of many organizations, individuals and the city.
One of these individuals was Charles H. Wesley, the founding director of AAMP. His background in African American History made him the perfect person to aid in the Museum’s opening. To learn more about his collaboration with the Museum as well as his own history, read the story.
February 29th, 2012
The Academy of Natural Sciences has an amazing history. Founded in 1812, it is the oldest natural
sciences institute in the Western Hemisphere and has been funding expeditions and research for generations. Its history can be seen in its beautiful 1876 building and even in its dioramas, but its current work and research is very relevant to today’s issues.
The Academy is particularly involved on the environmental scene. Through funded research, open forums and a variety of programming it continues to teach the public about biodiversity and ecological research. Read more about the Academy’s efforts to preserve and protect the natural world here.
If you wish to learn more about the Academy’s history, read the story on Brooke Dolan II. Walking through the museum, you may notice his name frequently popping up. Not only did this explorer bring back thousands of specimens from Asia, but his
Academy-sponsored expeditions prepared him for a military intelligence operation during World War II! Learn more about this incredible man’s life here.
February 15th, 2012
Many Philadelphians known the name of artist Isaiah Zagar. A lucky few even have his work decorating their house. This well-known figure has been on the city’s radar since the 1960s, and his artwork has forever changed its landscape. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a non-profit which showcases his work, is a community forum for South Philadelphia.
It is easy to spot Zagar’s signiture whimsy on the walls of PMG on South Street. The mosaics of mirror and other materials create a festive yet otherworldly air. Now it is nearly unbelievable that this space used to be an abandoned lot. It was the combined efforts of Zagar and the surrounding community that made PMG what it is today.
PMG hosts a plethora of events and family programs that engage all ages. If you would like to view more of Zagar’s work, you only need to walk around the neighborhood to see different accents and mosics on restaurants, public spaces, and private homes.
Read here to learn more about Isaiah Zagar’s history and how PMG came to be.
February 13th, 2012
Have you ever walked past a church in the city and smiled at the way it seems to comingle with skyscrapers and high rises, traffic lights and trucks? If you have, then I’m sure you’ve taken note of these two center city churches; The Arch Street Presbyterian Church and The First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia.
First Unitarian sits on the corner of 22nd and Chestnut Streets with an idyllic courtyard and gothic building, designed by famed Philadelphia Architect Frank Furness, while Arch Street Presbyterian sits alongside the Comcast Center just five blocks away on 18th and Arch Streets.
Learn how these beautiful churches came to be and how they continue to thrive. These beautiful structures offer us a chance to pause and appreciate the beauty of our fair city, when life prevents us from getting to stop and smell the roses.
February 8th, 2012
The Congregation Rodeph Shalom is one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. Founded in 1795, it has had a profound effect on the Philadelphian landscape. Throughout the 1800s, it provided a refuge for newly arrived Jewish immigrants, and formed a community that lasted for generations. Today, many members of the Congregation are children, grandchildren, or even great-grand children of previous members.
You can learn more about Rodeph Shalom at its beautiful building on North Broad Street. The Moorish Revival construction was erected in 1928 after the Congregation outgrew its older building from 1869. It houses offices and an art museum along with its spaces of worship. The Philadelphia Museum of Art showcases contemporary Jewish pieces.
Throughout its history, members of Rodeph Shalom have had an impact on Judaistic thought on a national and international level. Read its PhilaPlace story to learn more about its past.