Philadelphia Museum of Art unveils $200 million renovation

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Museum of Art unveiled its $200 million renovations by famed architect Frank Gehry.

The museum is celebrating with 'Pay What You Wish' admission from Friday through Monday.

There aren't many changes on the outside of the museum, but the inside is a different story.

The new developments are a result of many years of planning and four years of construction.

Gehry says the original building had a lot to offer.

"You know that building is such an icon in Philadelphia, it would be outrageous to try to remodel the exterior," said Gehry.

He adds the interior appeared clogged, so the goal was to restore space.

Museum director and CEO Timothy Rub says that the work encompasses more than 140,000 square feet on three levels of the building, including 90,000 square feet of newly created public space and more than 20,000 square feet of new gallery space.

On Friday, Action News also got a tour of one of the two new art galleries. The focus of it is a new early American art gallery.

When visitors walk-in, they'll see a tribute to Native Americans. The gallery includes the largest collection of Presidential China outside of Washington D.C.

The most unique is that of President Rutherford B. Hayes. It also highlights artists of all kinds in one of the sections of the new gallery.

"This whole section is really focused on Black artists and makers. Most of the ones represented here worked in the free Black community of Philadelphia," said Rosalie Hooper of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

There's also a new shop inside that sells mostly local products.

Action News spoke with numerous guests about the museum who love the changes.

"The exhibits can be seen in a much more comprehensive and logical way. It's is very impressive," said Hani Zaki of Mount Airy.

Gwen Pfister of Logan Square said, "I think they did a really great job with the staircases and love how it matches the rest of the stone in the museum."
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