Barnes breaks ground despite protests

    It was a lousy day for a groundbreaking, but about 200 people braved the cold and rainy weather to gather under a tent at 20th Street and the Parkway Friday morning at the site of the new Barnes Museum.

    It was a lousy day for a groundbreaking, but about 200 people braved the cold and rainy weather to gather under a tent at 20th Street and the Parkway Friday morning at the site of the new Barnes Museum. The museum will house the world-famous art collection of Albert Barnes, currently in the suburb of Lower Merion.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091113pcbarnes.mp3]

    About 20 people gathered outside to protest what many regard as a done deal: moving the Barnes collection from its beloved location in Lower Merion. Sandy Bressler of Center City was among them.

    Bressler: There is no evidence it will succeed. It’s going create a black hole in funding for other cultural institutions in the region.

    Inside a tent on the property, Barnes Foundation Chair Bernard Watson said the move was necessary to stave off certain bankruptcy.

    Watson: The Foundation’s prior history of involvement in expensive litigation had a chilling effect on potential donors. None of the people raising their voices now in anger reached into their pockets to support us.

    The new museum is expected to cost $200 million dollars and be completed in 2012.

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