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    Philadelphia Museum of ArtPhiladelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    believed to be one of the biggest art museums in the nation, this gigantic and gorgeous museum is located in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, beginning in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition that happened that same year, although it was originally named the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. Since the museum was located so far from the mainstream of the city, it would began construction of a new building in 1919, after Mayor Thomas B. Smith laid the cornerstone in a Masonic ceremony on the old reservoir land of the decommissioned Fairmount Water Works that spanned ten acres of land, with the first part completed in 19238, in a quasi-Greek revival design that had been created by Horace Trumbauer. The beautiful facade is made of Minnesota dolomite, and the pediment that faced the parkway is adorned with magnificent sculptures created by C. Paul Jennewein that depicts Greek gods and goddesses; with an eerie collection of griffins that had been adopted as symbols of the museum in the 1970s. The stupendous collections contain over 225,000 works, with the museum housing some 200 galleries that span 2000 years, and no one of those galleries is devoted to pre-Columbian, Roman or Greek artworks, because of an early agreement between the museum and the University of Pennsylvania. Through this agreement though, the university loaned the museum its exceptional Chinese porcelain collection, and they in turn would loan the university its outstanding Roman, Egyptian and pre-Columbian works; although the museum does retain a few significant pieces for its own special exhibitions. The museum will host fifteen to twenty special exhibitions each year, welcoming over 800,000 people, although some of the bigger and more recognized artists' exhibitions will draw more, like the Paul Cezanne exhibit that drew 548,000 people itself or the Salvador Dali show that welcomed 370,000 visitors. The museum also includes the Rodin Museum, other historic sites and the Perelman Building, which showcase the creative achievements of the western world since the first century AD and those of Asia since the third millennium BC.

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    Independence HallIndependence Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    there are very few words in the American language that inspire, instill and create a feeling of pride and encouragement than Independence Hall, the place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution had been debated and adopted and signed. This structure was finished being constructed in 1753 to become the Pennsylvania State House for the province of Pennsylvania and the main meeting location for the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783, as well as the site of the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787, and is now part of Independence National Historic Park which is listed as a World Heritage site. It is a fairly plain red brick structure that had been built between 1732 and 1753, designed in the Georgian style by Andrew Hamilton and Edmund Woolley, who would lead the construction. It would be originally inhabited by the colonial government of Pennsylvania to be used as its state house from 1732 until 1799, with two smaller structures next to it. On the east side sits the Old City Hall and on the west is Congress Hall, so that all of the three make up a city block that has become known as Independence Square, with the old Philosophical hall that had been the home of the American Philosophical Society. The bell tower steeple of this hall would become the original home of the Liberty Bell and now houses the Centennial Bell that was manufactured for the US Centennial Exposition of 1876. That original Liberty bell is now housed in the Liberty Bell Center that is across the street with all its glory and distinctive crack. In 1976, Queen Elizabeth II would visit the city and present the American people with a beautiful gift, a replica Bicentennial Bell that had been cast in the same British foundry as the original bell, that now hangs in the modern bell tower that is located on 3rd Street near Independence Hall.

March 31, 2014