Memorial Day has passed - time to get those summer vacation plans in gear.
Sure, there’s always the shore, the mountains or Europe. But why not explore your own backyard by enjoying a Staycation, Philadelphia style?
This city offers a treasure trove of history, art, music, architecture, food and great neighborhoods. It’s the reason why hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on our city each year.
Having spent my college years living, studying and working in Center City, I’ve called this region home for over 40 years. There is so much to discover – especially now with the many newly opened exhibitions.
Here are some of suggestions for fun Staycation activities:
The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - http://historicphiladelphia.org/chineselanternfestival/
Ongoing through June 30 in Franklin Square, get set to be dazzled by 28 handcrafted lanterns that glow to life when the sun goes down. Designs range from pandas, lions and mythological creatures including a 200-foot Chinese dragon. In addition, enjoy Chinese entertainment and art, as well as dining options. Tickets are $15 for seniors. The festival opens nightly at 6 p.m.
Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950 and Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey - http://www.philamuseum.org/
Delve into the brilliance of 20thcentury art with Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibitions running to early September that highlight the Modern Art movement as well as the counterculture era of the 1960s. How didGeorgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, and others respond to the age of jazz and jitterbug, factory production and pre- and post-war culture? Follow through into the 1960s with the explosion of Pop Art and psychedelic posters protesting Vietnam, promoting rock and roll and the passion of the times.
Woven Strands: The Art of Human Hair Work- http://muttermuseum.org
If you’ve never ventured into the Mutter Museum, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s hall of medical anomalies, this exhibit running through mid-September might spur your morbid curiosity. It displays how human hair was used as a textile in the 19thand 19thcentury, used to form flower bouquets, wreaths, braided jewelry chains and more.
The Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum - http://Penn.museum
After a massive renovation, three new galleries have opened that explore life in the Mesopotamian world, how those ancient societies gave rise to our planet’s first cities that have many similarities to today’s. See the 4,500-year-old jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen, a baby’s rattle, a school child’s writing primer and over a thousand other related objects.
Susan Greenspon writes from Ardmore, Pa. A former managing editor of Main Line Times and graduate of Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, she enjoys writing, history, art, photography, reading and travel.