While its move from its original home on Latches Lane in Merion to a new museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia was opposed by many, the Barnes collection has seen visitor numbers increase dramatically in the nearly five years since its relocation, writes Natalie Kostelni for Philadelphia Business Journal.
When the Barnes Foundation trustees petitioned Montgomery County Orphans Court over a decade ago to move the collection to Philadelphia, many thought the move would be akin to heresy.
Moreover, the relocation was so controversial it inspired the acclaimed documentary, The Art of the Steal.
Nevertheless, the move to its new $150 million home did happen and with it came more visitors.
Attendance at its old location was around 60,000 annually. Post-relocation the Barnes had over 300,000 visitors in 2013 alone.
Now, the biggest issue the exhibition is currently facing is trying to attract a wider variety of demographics to visit the museum.
“What confounds us is who isn’t coming, “ said Margaret B. Zminda, CFO and CEO of the Barnes. “We see as part of our mission determining how to attract those who aren’t culturally active and get them through the door.”
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