Critics still hate revised design for Museum of the American Revolution in Philly

 Rendering courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution

Rendering courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution

The Philadelphia Art Commission has given preliminary approval to the design plans for the future Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, but the still-unbuilt building continues to have critics.


In February, Philadelphia’s Art Commission sent back plans for the future museum, asking architect A.M. Stern to remove its rooftop cupola, enliven its Chestnut Street wall, and alter the 3rd Street entrance.

The museum — to be built at the site of the old Visitor’s Center near Independence Hall — will be the first museum to tell the entire story of how America won its independence.

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The Art Commission has given conceptual approved the new changes to the design, which still follow a colonial style.

“That was both the kind of architecture that really represented the American republic at its founding, and it is so characteristic of this neighborhood,” said museum president and CEO, Michael Quinn.

Many hoped the Art Commission would take a stronger stand.

Three hundred people signed an online petition asking for a total redesign, urging the museum to create a more modern building to reflect the ongoing, global impact of the Revolutionary War.

The petition on, “A Declaration of Architectural Independence,” was authored by Nathaniel Popkin, an editor of the blog Hidden City. He says the new design changes don’t go far enough.

“The declarations that were made around the American Revolution still resonate with people all over the world today,” said Popkin. “To commemorate and talk about and show off pieces of that event, we have built what is unquestionably a dull box.”

With the Art Commission approval and demolition permits in hand, the Museum of the American Revolution will begin tearing apart the old Visitor’s Center in a few weeks. New construction is set to begin at the end of the summer.

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