For the Philadelphia tourism industry, the consummation devoutly to be wished has arrived at last.

The reopening of the Rodin Museum last weekend, its original character sensitively restored, completes the longed-for “museum mile” along the Parkway that tourism promoters hope will prove to be an irresistible magnet for the culturally motivated.

The Rodin, the new museum of the Barnes Foundation next door, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art a few blocks west certainly create a destination worth a special journey, as the Michelin guides would put it.

The question now is whether this new synergy will benefit all three museums, particularly the Rodin. Despite the French sculptor’s exalted reputation, it doesn’t attract nearly as many visitors as its counterpart in Paris, which draws about 700,000 annually. (The Philadelphia Rodin Museum’s biggest year since 1996 was 2002, when 63,523 people came. Average annual attendance during the decade beginning 2001 was 51,123.)


Ed Sozanski
The Inquirer