PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Officials of the Barnes Foundation announced today that the museum’s new home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will open to the public on May 19th, 2012.

The opening date was announced even as a Montgomery County judge deliberates on whether the move from Merion is legal.

“It is a momentous occasion not just for the art world but also for the City of Philadelphia,” said Charise Lillie of Comcast (far right in photo), who was among the speakers at a news conference to announce the Barnes’ much-anticipated opening date, its new logo, and funding from Comcast and PNC Bank for special programs during the first year of operations on the Parkway.

Barnes museum president Derek Gillman (at lectern in photo) says one program will provide free admission next Memorial Day weekend.

“We deeply appreciate their support,” Gillman said of the sponsors, “and we’re thrilled that they both share our commitment to making the Barnes a more accessible organization for students and visitors.”

Access is one big reason for the move to the Parkway. Neighbors made visiting the Merion location difficult, but fans of the Merion site continue to press for the court to bar the move. A suit on the issue is under advisement.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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