Art and Controversy in Philadelphia
Free Library of Philadelphia
Continue straight, with the library on your right.
The Parkway Central Branch of The Free Library of Philadelphia opened in 1927. But it was fraught with financial difficulties, legal battles, delayed ground breakings, and multiple stalls in construction.
With its conveyer belt system and pneumatic tubes, it was the most technologically advanced library in the United States, at the time of its opening.
Though its of course filled with books, the Free Library also houses some impressive art.
The Prints and Pictures department features a variety of works going all the way back to 1493. Works by Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali can be found, as well as photographs taken by Ansel Adams.
For the travel lover, the Prints and Pictures department possess a collection of vintage postcards.
If you prefer current works, the Hallway Gallery features a rotating exhibition of art by local artists.
My favorite section of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central building is The Rare Book Department. Finding the elevator to the Rare Book Department is its own adventure. The intoxicating smell of old pages envelopes you as soon as you enter.
Free guided tours of The Rare Book Department are offered at 11:00am Monday to Saturday. Visitors can lay their eyes on medieval manuscripts, works by Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, and original artwork by Beatrix Potter.
Cross the street ahead, N 20th St, and keep walking.