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Benjamin Franklin Parkway - Museum Mile

Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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LOVE Park serves as the great gateway to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia’s beautiful boulevard of museums that was designed by Paul Philippe Cret and Jacques Gréber and named after American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which opened in 1918, was modeled after the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, and the Parkway runs diagonally through the city’s otherwise standard street grid that was designed by William Penn.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is 1 mile in length and terminates at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where the Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps are).

Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Flags of the World

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is often referred to as Museum Mile because there are so many museums located along the Parkway including the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, and the Rodin Museum. Plus, the Museum Mile nickname is well earned because of all of the inspirational public art on display outside along the Parkway. 

The Thinker, Rodin Museum, Philadelphia

Outdoor Museum - It's Free

There are more than 25 works of Public Art along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Some of the time tested favorites include Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker in front of the Rodin Museum, Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE Statue, Emmanuel Frémiet’s Joan of Arc, and Mark di Suvero’s Iroquois. The Association for Public Art has created an amazing self-guided tour of the public art along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Iroquois By Mark di Suvero

In addition to the mecca of museums, be sure to check out the magnificent Swann Memorial Fountain, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul on Logan Square and the Children’s Discovery Garden at Sister Cities Park.

Flags of the World

Symbolizing Philadelphia as a global tourism destination, the tree-lined Parkway is lined with flags of countries from around the world. This international tribute began in 1976 as part of the Bicentennial Celebration. Philadeithlphia’s Deputy City Representative’s Office oversees the flags, which represent countries with significant populations in Philadelphia. The flags are hung alphabetically, with a few exceptions. For example, Israel’s flag is displayed next to the newly Holocaust Memorial. Vatican City, Italy, and Poland remain next to the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. For a Map of the current flag layout, click HERE.

Alexander Calder - 3 Generations' Creations on Display

For many years, visitors to the Parkway have marveled at the work of three generations of the Calder family of sculptors:

1) Alexander Milne Calder (1846-1923) designed the 37' tall statue of William Penn that stands high atop City Hall’s clocktower.

William Penn Statue, City Hall Courtyard, Circa 1893-1894, Prior to the Statue Being Place on top of City Hall Clocktower in 1894

2) Alexander Stirling Calder (1870-1945), son of Alexander Milne Calder, designed the Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Square.

3) The third generation sculptor, Alexander Calder, created the mobile “Ghost,” which is a moving sculpture prominently displayed from the ceiling in the Great Stair Hall of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

How to Get There

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is easily accessible for guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour. Starting from the National Constitution Center (where all of our tours begin and end), guests just have to walk West on Arch Street.  There is no need to make any turns - just head straight for Love Park which is about 10 blocks away at 15th & Arch Streets, and you will be at the gateway for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  Love Park is also very easy to reach via public transit.  Love Park is within quick walking distance of stops on both the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Subway Lines, as well as regional rail via Suburban Station. If you are driving, there is a parking garage directly beneath Love Park for easy access.  

Alternatively, head to the Philadelphia Museum of Art or any of your favorite stops along the magnificent Museum Mile, better known as the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

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