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Can’t beat these: Here’s a look at some free arts, culture and entertainment

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WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
bbingaman@21st-centurymedia.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

The time has come for your budget to recover after all that holiday spending. May we suggest some free arts, culture and entertainment?
Inspiring art
• It’s free to get into the galleries at the Goggleworks Center for the Arts, 201 Washington St., Reading. An upcoming special event is Spotlight Night from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 13, the first day of Reading’s Fire & Ice Fest.
• Did you know the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, offers “pay what you wish” admission on the first Sunday of the month, and from 5 to 8:45 p.m. Wednesdays? Keep that in mind for “American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent,” which opens March 1.
• A little farther down the Parkway, the Barnes Foundation also offers free admission on the first Sunday of the month. The deal day features activities, music and more. Free tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 9 a.m. In between the Barnes and the Art Museum, take a peek at a large version of Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker” and the Rodin Museum Garden, which are outside the Rodin Museum.
• In Chestnut Hill, the Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, does free admission every Sunday.
• Admission to the Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. Fifth St., Allentown, is free on Sundays, and from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.
• Admission is free at the Delaware Art Museum on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Current exhibits include “Truth & Vision: 21st Century Realism” through Jan. 22 and “Fluidity” thought Feb. 12. Also on view through 2020 are a set of nine murals painted by Howard Pyle (1853 – 1911) for his home in Wilmington. Check out the annual Chinese New Year Celebration set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 featuring traditional Chinese art, artist demonstrations, a lion dance and Chinese yo-yo performance, among other highlights. The museum is at 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. For more details, check www.delart.org or call (866) 232-3714.
• It’s free every day to get into the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art on the campus of Ursinus College. Ursinus is off of East Main Street, Collegeville.
• It’s also free to access the Galleries at the Moore College of Art and Design, 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway; the Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St.; and the Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch St. Something else that’s free is the Museums Without Walls audio tour. You can download the audio, stream it live from www.associationforpublicart.org/explore/public-art/#gallery/all/!mww, get the mobile app or call (215) 399-9000.
• It’s free to see the Lafayette College Art Galleries & Art Collections in Easton. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Go to http://galleries.lafayette.edu.
• Less than a block from Independence Hall, at Sixth and Walnut streets, is the Curtis Center office building, home of a large glass mosaic known as “The Dream Garden.” From the Sixth Street entrance to the building, go up a few stairs and through a row of grand marble columns.
Free concerts
You’re used to them in the summer, but what about now?
• Under Events at www.steelstacks.org, there’s a tab to click on for free concerts at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. Discover Kim Edwards Jan. 13, among others.
• Friday afternoons, WXPN presents the Free at Noon series at World Cafe Live Philadelphia, 3025 Walnut St. To see who’s performing next, go to www.xpn.org/events/free-at-noon. Be advised that the parking lot behind World Cafe Live will not be open, and parking in University City can be difficult, so public transportation is probably the way to go.
• The Student Recital series at the Curtis Institute of Music resumes Jan. 16, with 8 p.m. concerts on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. Get more information at http://commonroom.curtis.edu/curtis-calendar-home.
Heritage and history
• The sites of Independence National Historical Park, Fifth and Chestnut streets, Philadelphia, are open for free all year long. That includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Congress Hall. Note that timed tickets are required for Independence Hall, and you need to pick those up at the Independence Visitor Center. In the neighborhood are Franklin Court, the site on Market Street where Benjamin Franklin’s house used to be; and the Declaration House, the site where Thomas Jefferson wrote the draft of the Declaration of Independence during the summer of 1775. The house is a museum that tells about Jefferson’s time in the home. Also, a walking tour put together by the American Philosophical Society on Jefferson’s favorite Philly haunts can be found at www.apsmuseum.org/jeffersons-walking-tour-of-philadelphia.
• Valley Forge National Historical Park, off of Route 23 at 1400 North Outer Line Drive, Upper Merion, is both a Revolutionary War significant site and a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The place to start is the Visitor Center, which has a museum pertaining to Washington’s 1777-1778 and the cultural and natural history of Valley Forge.
• Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, 2 Mark Bird Lane, Elverson, contains uniquely regional stories of industrial development, technology and community. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Except for the visitor center and historic buildings, visiting Hopewell Furnace is an outdoor experience. So dress for the weather and wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
• Pennypacker Mills, 5 Haldeman Road, Perkiomen Township, was the home of Pennsylvania Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker. Free guided tours are given Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. (Last tour starts at 3). Call (610) 287-9349.
• Did you know there was a Mummers Museum at 1100 South Second St. in Philadelphia? It’s open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wedenesdays through Saturdays; so the mummers don’t just disappear after New Year’s Day. See more at www.mummersmuseum.com.
• The Fireman’s Hall Museum presents and preserves the history of firefighting in Philadelphia, paying tribute to both paid and volunteer firefighters, at 147 N. Second St.
• The Polish American Cultural Center Museum is at 308 Walnut St., Philadelphia. From January through April, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, closed on holidays. And did you know there was a house at Third and Pine streets that’s a national memorial to Polish-Lithuanian military leader Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who helped the United States win its independence? Both have free admission.
Barn voyage
Bucks County barn tour: Central and upper Bucks County have a variety of historic barns on rolling hills and back roads. The Heritage Conservancy has created a self-guided driving tour that takes you past more than 15 of them. Get started at www.visitbuckscounty.com/things-to-do/attractions-tours/barn-voyage.
Out and about
Lock 60 at Schuylkill Canal Park: Go on a free, all-ages open house and tour of the Locktender’s House with the Schuylkill Canal Association between 1 and 4 p.m. Jan. 15. Check it out at 400 Towpath Road, Mont Clare. Call (610) 917-0021.
Lorimer Park: Audubon Bird Town Bird Walks for ages 12 and up are held at 8 a.m. the third Tuesday of the month. Search the Pennypack Trail and Bethaynes Swamp for resident winter birds. New birders are welcome and you should bring binoculars to the Welsh Road parking area. You also need to register at (215) 947-3477.
Green Lane Park: Pre-register for a Jan. 21 winter walk on the Perkiomen Trail open to ages 8 and up. Sturdy footwear is a must and you need to call (215) 234-4528. Met at the Crusher Road trailhead, south of Green Lane Borough.
Training day
In case you missed it, this is the time when model railroad clubs around the region offer free open house events to introduce you to their hobby.
Chelten Hills Model Railroad Club: The club’s HO gauge layout is in the former Old York Road station, 8000 Old York Road (Route 611), Elkins Park. Check it out noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 21-22. Call (215) 635-9747 or go to www.cheltenhillsmrr.org.
Schuylkill Valley Model Railroad Club: The club’s HO gauge layout runs 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 14-15 and 21-22 at 400 S. Main St. (use the rear entrance), Phoenixville. Call (610) 935-1126 or visit www.svmrrc.com.
St. Alban’s Railroad Fellowship: St. Alban’s opens their layout to the public 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 21-22 at 3625 Chapel Road, Newtown Square. Go to www.starr-mrc.org.
Abington Lines Model Railroad Club: The club’s free seasonal open house runs noon to 4 p.m.  Jan.  14-15 at 2066 Second Street Pike, Richboro. Go to www.abingtonlines.org or call (215) 598-7720.
Keystone N-Trak: The Holiday Open House runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 21-22 at the Dublin TEC Center, 123 N. Main St., Dublin. Check out www.keystonentrak.us or call (215) 722-4250.
Kutztown Area Historical Society: A Model Railroad Open House is held from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 15, 22 and 29. The 500-square-foot, HO scale model railroad features a bustling city, amusement park, rural countryside, bridges, mountains, lakes and streams are all on display. Children can have fun with interactive controls for Thomas the Tank and other trains. The historical society is at Normal Avenue and Whiteoak Street, Kutztown. For more information, call (610) 683-7697.
That’s in Philly?
• You don’t have to take any money out when you visit the United States Mint at 151 N. Independence Mall. Highlights include watching coin production from 40 feet above the factory floor and seeing the nation’s first coining press.
• The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site at 532 N. Seventh St., Philadelphia, was the house where Poe lived when he wrote “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Go to www.nps.gov/edal/index.htm.
• Located in a former Civil War-era bank building at 315 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, the 10,000-square-foot Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum “is a journey through the weird and wonderful world of matter and materials.” Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.chemheritage.org.
• The Temple School of Podiatric Medicine’s Shoe Museum at 148 N. Eighth St. features hundreds of pairs of shoes from ancient Egypt to famous footwear worn by Reggie Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Joan Rivers and several former presidents and first ladies. Admission is free, but you need to make an appointment with curator Barbara Williams at (215) 625-5243 or BWilliams@tuspm.temple.edu.

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