What is the Barnes Foundation?

The Barnes Foundation is a unique educational institution dedicated to appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture. The Foundation fulfills its educational mission through public access to its collections of art and plants and through related programs. Its legendary art collection includes some of the world's finest examples of post-impressionist and early modern works, along with African and other non-western art, decorative arts, and more. The living collections include a historic 12-acre arboretum and a 10,000-specimen herbarium.

Where is the Barnes Foundation?

The Barnes Foundation has three locations:

  • The Barnes Philadelphia is home to the art collection, and is located at 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130
  • The Barnes Merion is home to the arboretum and horticulture program, and is located at 300 North Latch’s Lane, Merion, PA 19066
  • The Barnes Ker-Feal is an estate in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and is currently not open to the public

When did the Barnes Philadelphia open?

The Barnes Philadelphia opened on May 19, 2012.

How do I get tickets for the Barnes Foundation?

Tickets are available here.

Do I need a reservation to visit the Barnes?

Because the galleries are small, there is a limit to the number of people who can be in the Collection Gallery at any one time and entrance is staggered. Walk-up tickets are sometimes, but not always, available. Tickets are sold for every half hour of the day between 10 am and 5 pm.

Become a member at the Supporter level or above for guranteed admission without reservations. Learn more.

Reservations are highly recommended for high traffic days (weekends, holidays) or if your schedule does not permit flexibility in entrance time. Daily admission is subject to selling out, and it is possible to be turned away or necessary to stand in line to enter the collection if admission for the day is full. For advance ticket reservations, book online or call 215.278.7200 between 10 am and 4 pm daily. International guests experiencing issues with online reservations should e-mail reserve@barnesfoundation.org.

Why must visitors check large bags, jackets, and umbrellas in the complimentary coat check?

In the galleries, many paintings are unglazed and most objects are not in cases. Some of the Barnes's galleries are very small, and especially on high traffic days, can become crowded. In order to protect the collection and make the visitor experience as enjoyable as possible for everyone, the Barnes Foundation has rules in place to limit the chance of accidental contact with objects in the collection and moisture exposure from damp jackets and umbrellas.

Is the Barnes Arboretum in Merion open?

The Barnes Arboretum is open to the public Friday–Sunday, 10 am–4 pm through in the spring, summer, and early fall. The arboretum is also open for horticulture courses.

When will the Barnes Ker-Feal open?

There are currently no plans to open Ker-Feal to the public.

Does the Barnes Foundation present exhibitions?

One of the most significant features of the Foundation's Philadelphia facility is the 5,000-square-foot Roberts Gallery for exhibitions. Exhibitions reflect the focus of the Barnes collection and include shows of contemporary and non-Western art. Learn more

How has the light and viewing experience been addressed in the Philadelphia building?

A state-of-the-art lighting system, combining artificial and natural light, shows the collection to best advantage, revealing subtleties of color, texture, and form to visitors. A rooftop “light box” filters out harmful UV rays from natural light and is illuminated at night, becoming a familiar beacon on the Parkway.

Is the Barnes Foundation's Parkway building environmentally-friendly?

The Barnes Foundation's Parkway building was awarded LEED Platinum Certification, the recognized standard for ensuring “green” construction and continued sustainability. The project features a high-performance envelope, and efficient energy conservation practices have been used throughout the design. A green roof and abundant permeable surfaces allow for reuse of rain and grey water, and the incorporation of reclaimed Pennsylvania wood and local materials during construction enhance the sustainability of the building.

The landscape, designed by Olin, also helps us achieve our sustainability goals. There are approximately 100 more trees on the site than before the Parkway building's construction, as well as gardens and plantings surrounding the building. Irrigation is provided by the capture and storage of rainwater. Impermeable surfaces have been reduced to a minimum and there are underground stormwater retention basins.

The building’s operations have been overhauled to include mandatory recycling, promotion of reduced paper consumption, and use of biodegradable materials and products that conform to LEED standards. Learn more

Are audio guides available?

The audio tour is available for download for your your Apple or Android device via the iTunes store or Google Play.  The tour is available in English, French, Japanese, and Spanish.

Is photography allowed at the Barnes Foundation?

Photography is allowed in all public spaces of the Barnes Foundation. This includes the Lower Level, the Annenberg Court, and the outdoor grounds. Photography is prohibited in the Collection Gallery.

Is sketching allowed at the Barnes Foundation?

Sketching is prohibited in the galleries. Our founder believed in close observation and appreciation of art, but expressly forbid art making in the galleries. Just as the way he hung the paintings has been maintained, Barnes’s specific rule that the collection be used solely for looking and the appreciation of fine art and not for drawing, painting, or the instruction of art making is being followed.

Will the Barnes Foundation donate to my charity?

The Barnes Foundation donates tickets to approved non-profits for fundraising sales and auctions. Ticket donations are not guaranteed.

The Barnes donates to two types of non-profit organizations:
1. K–12 public, charter, private, and parochial schools in the city of Philadelphia
2. Visual arts organizations in the city of Philadelphia

Please request ticket donations at least one month in advance by emailing reserve@barnesfoundation.org. The request should be on your organization's official letterhead and should include the name and date of the event where Barnes tickets will be sold, your contact information, and a copy of your organization's state or federal letter documenting its 501(c)(3) status. Organizations may request one ticket donation per calendar year.

Donated tickets are for general admission only. Exhibitions and programs are not included.

Thank you for thinking of the Barnes Foundation in planning your fundraising event.

How did Albert Barnes make his fortune?

Both a scientist and an entrepreneur, Barnes developed and marketed Argyrol, an antiseptic silver compound. The fortune earned from this medicine’s global distribution allowed Barnes to realize his ideals and create the Barnes Foundation, an institution established “to promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts.”



Have more questions about our three related but distinct campuses? Visit the Campuses section for more information.

Barnes Philadelphia

Get a closer look at the design and features of the Philadelphia facility, and meet the architects behind the project.