Art and Controversy in Philadelphia- Audio Tour

You’ve gawked at the Liberty Bell, visited Betsy Ross’ House, and ate the required Philly Cheesesteak. Next on the list, a Rocky inspired jog up the Philadelphia Art Museum Steps.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

You stroll up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, on your way to the museum, passing other artful spots in the city, unaware of the roles they have played in the long history of Philadelphia’s art scene.

From the Rodin Museum, to the quirky Magic Gardens, to Philadelphia’s fantastic Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia’s art history and rich, diverse, art scene, is more than the ending of an epic, sports, movie montage. Also, like the beginnings of independence, art in Philadelphia has not been without its battles. I’ve been fascinated by many of the controversies surrounding art in  my home city of Philadelphia, and was excited to have the opportunity to create an audio tour for VoiceMap, titled, Art and Controversey in Philadelphia.

The tour begins at the Logan Square Fountain. It continues down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and concludes at The Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s an easy, safe, walk.

Some things you will hear about during the tour

The Barnes Foundation

  • My favorite Philadelphia art controversy. It sparks a good debate over whether art is something that can be exclusively owned, or if art, particularly, famous, classic, iconic art, is something that should be available to everyone. Take the tour first, and then check out the documentary, The Art of the Steal.

The Rodin Museum Garden

  • We’ll take a stroll around the Rodin Museum Garden to exam some of the sculptures. Though now he is considered one of the greatest sculptures to ever live, Rodin made a lot of waves in the art community in his day, with his out of the box ideas of what sculpture should be. (The garden is lovely year round, but it’s especially beautiful in the spring when everything is in bloom.)

Rodin Museum Garden

Eakins Oval

  • A double controversy. One involves Eakins himself, whose teaching methods and paintings created quite a stir within the historic, Philadelphia art community. The other involves an on-the-down-low deal that would have caused Philadelphia to part with one of its most famous, historic paintings.

The Rocky Statue

  • A boxing match of sorts involving the art elite vs. the common man, and an argument over what is and isn’t art.

Clearly this traveler was having the best day ever. He even dressed up like Rocky to run up the “Rocky Steps”

  • Plus more spots along the way.


If you’re planning to visit Philadelphia, and especially, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, why not be entertained and learn something along the way.


How to get the Tour


  • Download the VoiceMap App onto your phone (the app is free)
  • Search Philadelphia, and the Art and Controversy in Philadelphia tour should come up
  • Purchase and Download the tour (the tour is $3.99)
  • When in Philadelphia, stand at the Logan Square Fountain and press play.

  • The tour will begin, and it will tell you where to go from there. The app uses your phone’s GPS, so as you pass a particular point on the tour, it will automatically begin telling you about it. You can also download the tour and listen to it on continuous play, much like you would listen to a podcast episode. So you don’t have to be on location to listen. I downloaded several VoiceMap tours, before we visited Cape Town, just to get an overview of the city before we arrived. I’ve also listened to the London, Theaterland Tour with Ian McClellan (just as a note, I think I do a decent job, but I am no Ian McCellan), and the Through Fashionable Paris in the Footsteps of Audrey Hepburn, tour, just because I love Audrey Hepburn.
  • Listen to and enjoy the stories in Art and Controversy in Philadelphia (and do take a jog up the “Rocky Steps” at the end. It’s super fun).