Located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Fairmount Avenue, in the heart of Fairmount, the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building is an annex of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It faces the Philadelphia Museum of Art and features a stunning Art Deco design and cathedral-like entrances, adorned with sculpture and gilding.
The Perelman Building, which opened in 2007, houses more than 150,000 prints, drawings, and photographs, along with 30,000 costume and textile pieces. Additionally, the museum is home to more than 1,000 modern and contemporary objects, including furniture, ceramics, and glasswork.
Construction began in 1926 and the building was completed in 1928, and it was designed to be the headquarters for Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company. Sculptor Lee Lawrie created its decorative scheme, which features polychrome facades adorned with figures symbolizing attributes of insurance:
- the owl of wisdom
- the dog of fidelity
- the pelican of charity
- the opossum of protection
- the squirrel of frugality
Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company occupied the building from 1927 to 1972. In 1982 it was acquired and restored by the Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, which in turn relocated in 1999. The Philadelphia Museum of Art acquired the building in 1999 through the City of Philadelphia in anticipation of its 125th anniversary in 2001.