PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A major attraction in the city is now reopened with new spaces and galleries. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was closed for eight months, on and off, since the start of the pandemic.
After two decades of planning and four years of construction, the newly renovated spaces were officially unveiled on Friday, and to kick it all off was a ribbon-cutting with local officials, architects, and art lovers.READ MORE: Crash Involving SEPTA Bus, 4 Vehicles In Philadelphia's Cobbs Creek Neighborhood
The world-class museum has 90,000 square feet of new space, and 20,000 of that is dedicated to new galleries in the Core Project, including a new exhibition featuring Philadelphia artists.
In celebration of these new spaces and welcoming tourists and locals alike, this Friday through Monday, visitors can pay what they wish for museum entry.
“We’re going to eat and it’s only allowing six people, so that’s a little bit of a struggle because now, we can only take a certain amount of family members. That’s six people,” Hadley Bloemke of North Philadelphia said. “And we can only be there for an hour-and-half, which is a little bit of a struggle since we’re celebrating such a special time for graduation.”READ MORE: Woman Facing Arson Charges After Allegedly Intentionally Setting Fire At Howard Johnson Hotel In Blackwood
It’s one more step in the recovery from the pandemic.
For the second time this week, Mayor Jim Kenney celebrated a push for welcoming people to Philadelphia.
“I believe that arts and culture will be one key to our city’s recovery, and of course, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will lead the way,” Kenney said Friday. “The museum will continue to attract visitors from around the world and this project will only make that visit more enticing. But for me, I think the most important role it will play is rebuilding our sense of community and belonging, helping our kids get back on track by harnessing their creativity, engaging their senses, and advancing their social socials that were so sadly diminished in the virtual world that we’ve been living through for over a year.”
As the official start of summer approaches, the tourism industry in Philly is welcoming visitors, but some restaurants and business owners are a bit frustrated with no word on when the city will officially reopen.MORE NEWS: Taste With Tori: Wake Coffee Roasters' Unique Way Of Selling Coffee Makes All Extra Happy In Morning
Eyewitness News reached out to Kenney while he was at Friday’s event. His staff declined our request to speak about potential city reopening dates, saying we’ll have to wait until his Tuesday press conference for any updates, so it will be at least a full week after New Jersey, Delaware, and the rest of Pennsylvania learned of their reopening dates.