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Just like the other great cities of the United States, Philadelphia boasts of its own Museum of Art which is one of the biggest art hubs in the country. This great icon of culture at the heart of the city of brotherly love holds more than 225,000 pieces spanning more than two centuries and displayed in 200 masterfully curated galleries.

Initially named as the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art was built in 1876 in lieu of the Centennial Exposition held during the same year. The original building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style which was opened to the public in 1877. However, its original location was not easily reached plus the fact that the original space became too small to accommodate the collection of the museum which grew exponentially.

In 1919, building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as we know it today commenced starting with then Mayor Thomas B. Smith laying the cornerstone in a Masonic ritual. Deviating from the previous Beaux-Arts aesthetic, the new building was built in a familiar quasi-Greek Revival fashion, resembling the Parthenon with its humongous columns and triangular roof earning it the nickname ?Parthenon of the Parkway. The building is cladded with dolomite and pediment (triangular structure sitting atop the columns) fronting the parkway is decorated with an entablature showing Greek gods and goddesses. The museum also has a collection of the mythological creature griffins which became the museum?s iconography later on.

Fifteen to 20 high profile exhibits are held on the Philadelphia Art Museum annually drawing more around 800,000 art enthusiasts hailing from across the United States and other parts of the world. Some of the most notable exhibitions mounted here are shows which featured the masterpieces of Salvador Dali in 2005 and Paul Cezanne in 2009. Another popular attraction in the Philadelphia Museum is the Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection, named after the collection?s donor and original owner. It features various armors and weapons from Europe from different eras.

As a testament to its importance in the city?s arts and culture heritage and the beauty of the structure itself, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been used several times in pop culture. But what really boosted its popularity other than its extensive art collection is when it was featured in the movie franchise Rocky starring Sylvester Stallone. Museum guests are often seen reenacting the famous scene when Stallone was running up the stairs so it comes as no surprise that this part of the museum was playfully dubbed as the Rocky Steps.
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