By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As Beyonce struts on the Ben Franklin Parkway during the Made in America concert this Labor Day weekend, the cultural institutions along the Parkway are bracing for a drop in attendance.
As “Made in America” is set to bring thousands to the Parkway over the holiday weekend, Gail Harrity, CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has a simple message: the museum is open for business.
“Our hope would be that we would celebrate great culture, both on the Parkway and within all of our great cultural institutions that line it.”
But Harrity admits that most mega-events on the Parkway, including last year’s Made in America, do cause declines in attendance at the museum, because getting there becomes tougher.
“Access is more challenging for those wanting to come only to the Museum. So, we do see generally a drop-off in attendance.”
For this year’s Made in America, both the Art Museum and its annex, the Perelman Building, will be open. Also open is the Barnes Museum. Officials are, however, shuttering for that weekend the Rodin Museum, because the concert perimeter is quite close to that institution.
“Both city officials and Museum officials felt we could not appropriately safeguard the collections or the surrounding landscape (of the Rodin).”
Harrity understands the benefits to the city of huge events on the Parkway, even if it affects those who would prefer to see the fine arts.
“The challenge is striking the right balance, so that we can enjoy Philadelphia’s landmark Boulevard — one of the most beautiful boulevards in the country — and at the same time allow the institutions along the Parkway to thrive.”
And Harrity has one bit of advice for those coming into town simply for Made in America: stop by the museums while you’re there.
“We encourage festival-goers to come inside.”