Museum roundup: The American Swedish Historical Museum and the Athenaeum

The architect who designed the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the history of Swedish glass-making is the focus in this week's 6abc Loves the Arts.

We start at the American Swedish Historical Museum, in the heart of South Philadelphia's FDR Park.

"A place for Swedes and Scandinavians in general to celebrate their culture and all of the achievements that they had," explains Trevor Brandt, curator of the American Swedish Historical Museum.

Founded in 1926, it features a collection of more than 5,000 objects.

"We have galleries focusing on engineering or on architecture, music and social justice," says Brandt.

Currently on view is Enchanting Transparency, an exhibition that highlights masterpieces of Swedish and Scandinavian glass from the 1920s thru the '50s.

"One of my favorite pieces in this exhibition is called the Fishnets," says Brandt, who points to a particular piece that, "features a woman with a basket of fish on her head and all around the vase are these fishing lines, these fishing nets."

In Washington Square, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia has a prestigious collection of architecture and interior design history that spans more than 200 years.

"In the last 35 years since I began here, the collection has grown from 30,000 to about 360,000 drawings and about 300,000 photographs," says Bruce Laverty, curator of Architecture at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Beginning April 30, visitors can learn about Paul Philippe Cret, a French-born architect instrumental in the design of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

"It's part of our celebration of the Parkway 100," says Laverty.

The free exhibition is called Professor Cret's Parkway and it features more than 30 original designs that illustrate the architect's influence on the City Beautiful Movement.

"He was involved in the laying out of the Parkway and a number of the buildings that were ultimately built there," says Laverty. "We will have drawings for the Rodin Museum, some of his early drawings for the Parkway."

The exhibit will also feature a number of unbuilt designs that, had they been realized, would have given the Parkway a much different look, including one that included the "tearing down of City Hall in 1929," says Laverty.

The American Swedish Historical Museum
1900 Pattison Ave, Phila. PA 19146 |Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
219 S 6th St. | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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