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“Poor Judgment Resulted in Poor Visit”

Rosenbach Museum and Library
Ranked #101 of 488 things to do in Philadelphia
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Rosenbach Museum & Library seeks to inspire curiosity, inquiry, and creativity by engaging broad audiences in exhibitions, programs and research based on its remarkable and expanding collections. With an outstanding collection of rare books, manuscripts, furniture, and art, the Rosenbach is a museum and world-renowned research library, set within two historic 1865 townhouses, that reflects an age when great collectors lived among their treasures.
Reviewed 27 May 2018

I called in advance to be sure the museum was open on a particular Sunday, and I was assured it was--but that there was no exhibit. Since there was no docent that day, the two employees on duty at the time would not allow me to see the rooms of the historic house. As I was the only visitor at that time, I considered that overly rigid but said nothing. I didn't see why one of them couldn't have supervised my tour of the house. In the end the telephone information was incorrect and there was an excellent exhibit, which I was allowed to view for a discounted entrance fee. All in all it was an example of an institution out of touch with its public dimension.

Thank Paul G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"maurice sendak"
in 17 reviews
"book lovers"
in 9 reviews
"book collection"
in 6 reviews
"alice in wonderland"
in 7 reviews
"rittenhouse square"
in 10 reviews
"original manuscripts"
in 5 reviews
"love books"
in 5 reviews
"famous authors"
in 4 reviews
"house tour"
in 4 reviews
"guided tour"
in 9 reviews
"family history"
in 3 reviews
"antique furniture"
in 2 reviews
"behind glass"
in 2 reviews
"fantastic collection"
in 2 reviews
"on display"
in 4 reviews
"knowledgeable guide"
in 2 reviews
"philadelphia history"
in 2 reviews
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3 - 7 of 77 reviews

Reviewed 28 April 2018

I was in Philly for barely three days, on my first evening I went to a very enjoyable event at the Rosenbach, next morning I joined a group visit, then was accommodated in the reading room to view items specific to my interest. Everything was amazing, staff are so helpful and friendly.

Thank Albanach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2018

We visited here a few years ago, and decided to visit again. They have a few rooms on the second floor where they have particular exhibits and we went to see the one now on view. At 4 pm they were offering a tour of the private home portion of the building where the Rosenbach brothers lived - we had an excellent and very knowledgeable guide. We love books and the chance to even be in the same room with rare treasures is a treat. It's not far from Rittenhouse Square so it's a lovely place to spend an hour whatever they have on exhibit.

Thank DrSharonGreenfieldMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2017

Not a browse around on your own place. A staff member guides you through the three floors. The collection of rare books is incredible and varied. Small group tours so plenty of opportunities to ask questions. As an aside: the books are available for up-close examination by appointment. A nice sophisticated side trip after lunch in Rittenhouse Square.

Thank LibertyStreet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 October 2017

A.S.W. Rosenbach was the 20th century's most important dealer of rare books and manuscripts, and his stately former home houses his priceless collection of literature. The catch? Most of it is secreted away, behind glass.

Take the house tour at the top of each hour. Our guide was entertaining and showed us what he could. But in the library upstairs, out of the countless manuscripts by famous authors, the only things on display were a few handwritten pages of Ulysses, written in James Joyce's sloping hand. Don't get me wrong – that's really cool. But it was maddening to watch our guide point out all the super-famous works by super-famous authors, all locked behind glass bookcase doors. It's like going to the Louvre and being told, "Inside that cardboard tube over there is the Mona Lisa."

That's the only reason this place gets 4 stars. I'd love to visit a Rosenbach with much more work on display. But this is not a vast museum. It's just a nice old house. There's only so much space.

There is a room downstairs with rotating exhibitions – when we were there, it was Bram Stoker's notes for Dracula and Mary Shelley's manuscript for Frankenstein, very atmospherically presented. This room alone makes the house a worthwhile destination for literature buffs.

1  Thank forcor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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