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The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia

Understandably, a single person’s comprehensive vision rarely meets the public gaze. The bureaucracy required to house and protect artifacts encounters committees, financial roadblocks, &c. A spectacular exception to this reality is The Barnes Collection in Philadelphia, which was assembled by Dr. Albert C. Barnes.

In addition to exquisitely designed and rendered everyday objects—by anonymous craftspeople—such as candle snuffers, keyhole hardware, and furniture, the prominent artists who shaped modern western art and culture are displayed together with medieval and premodern works. 

The digital portal to the collection enables visitors to browse total assemblages, as arranged by Barnes, and by color, line, light, and space. Barnes, the man, was friends with the great proponent of experiential education, John Dewey. The influence of their friendship is reflected in the website design, which encourages curiosity, thinking, sharing, and connecting.

Do not take my word for it. Visit the collection online and glimpse into a single person’s mind.