• Irene Levy Baker

Reopened! Safely Visit the Museum of the American Revolution, The Barnes & Penn Museum


Photo courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution

As Philadelphia’s infection rates continue to drop area museums are beginning to welcome back visitors, including three of the city’s most exciting museums -- the Museum of the American Revolution, The Barnes, and Penn Museum. Here’s what to expect:

Museum of the American Revolution


The exhibits at the Museum of the American Revolution go well beyond what the colonists were fighting for, how they fought and how they struggled to form the nation. The museum delves into the often forgotten perspectives of African Americans and Native Americans and how their lives were affected by the war and questions who was included in the phrase “all men were created equal” in the Declaration of Independence. Tip: Finish your visit with the immersive film about George Washington’s tent and then see the actual tent that housed the nation’s first Commander in Chief, and is the centerpiece of the museum’s collection.


The newest museum in Philadelphia’s historic district, has these safety protocols in place to ensure a safe and crowd-free visit.

  • All staff received training on safety protocols and social distancing procedures.

  • The museum encourages people to pre-purchase timed tickets online or by phone to allow for contact-less payment and limited capacity. A limited number of timed tickets will be sold to walk-ins each day.

  • Masks/face coverings are required (age 5+).

  • People are asked to remain at least 6 feet from guests not in their family group.

  • Visitors move through the galleries in a one-way pattern and capacity is limited in museum theaters and in-gallery pocket theaters.

  • An elevator is available with limited capacity. The second floor exhibits can also be easily accessed by a sweeping, open-air staircase.

  • The museum’s Revolution Place discovery center and Battlefield Theater will remain temporarily closed. But there will still be plenty to see and entertain visitors.

  • All public spaces, surfaces and touch screens are rigorously cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the building.

  • Protective barriers have been installed in all locations where purchases are made and tickets are scanned.

  • Visitors can purchase audio tours that they can listen to on their own smartphones or take small guided tours.

  • The shop and Cross Keys Cafe are open. Outside seating is available.

The Barnes

Courtesy of The Barnes

The Barnes houses one of the world’s most impressive collections of French impressionists, post-impressionist paintings include the world’s largest collection of Renoirs, as well as work by Cezanne, Matisse and African art. Tip: The museum has a free app, just point your phone's camera at the artwork to get details about it.our camera at a piece of art d the app will provide information about it.

The Barnes has reimagined every aspect of its operations to be both enriching and safe.

  • Visitors are encouraged to reserve timed tickets online or by phone at 215/278-7200 to facilitate social distancing and touchless purchasing.

  • Staff and visitors have temperature checks.

  • Masks/face coverings over their nose and mouth are required.

  • Public spaces are rigorously cleaned.

  • Hand-sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the museum.

  • Signs are posted to encourage social distancing.

  • The museum has been set up so there’s a one-way flow through the galleries.


Penn Museum

Penn Museum by Raffi Berberian

Penn Museum invites visitors to discover the mysteries of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Japan, and the Middle East. This archaeology and anthropology museum dating back to 1887 is a cultural gem with a collection of more than one million objects, many of them from worldwide scientific expeditions sponsored by the museum. Tip: The museum is offering free admission to individual high school & college students certain days/times. Check the museum's website for details.


The museum has instituted a few modifications to keep visitors and staff safe and healthy.

  • To limit capacity the museum recommends that visitors purchase timed tickets online in advance.

  • Floor markings provide a suggested one-way path through the museum.

  • All visitors (ages 2+) and staff are required to wear a face covering at all times inside the museum and in outdoor spaces.

  • Guests are asked to maintain at least a six-foot distance from other visitors.

  • Visitors get a stylus to safely encourage using interactive touchscreens.

  • Hand sanitizer and wipe dispenser stations are available throughout the museum.

  • Staff regularly cleans and sanitizes using CDC-rated products.

For those not ready to return to the museum yet, all three museums continue to offer virtual experiences. And for those ready for in-person adventures, they'll find many more Philadelphia museums, attractions, hotels and restaurants have also re-opened.



by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. Both books are full of tips. For even more tips, visit www.100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia.com. Planning a staycation? Go to the website for signed copies of books. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse.

Click here for more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including two posts with tips for how to help restaurants survive, a look at Philly-style masks, restaurant reviews based on safety protocol and more.

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