The Barnes Collection is considered to be the most valuable private art collection in the world, valued at anywhere from $25 to $40 billion. It is also possibly the largest, with more than 2,500 objects, including over 800 paintings by artists such as Degas, Picasso, Matisse, van Gogh, Cezanne and Renoir. In 1922, the collection was housed at the institution, which was founded by a successful chemist named Albert Barnes. I went to school across the street from it in Merion, Pa. I was always curious about the collection, but never able to see it, since the Foundation didn’t want a bunch of school kids wandering around the building. That changed today, as I found myself inside the Barnes Collection’s new museum on Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
The building was designed by New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and it is nothing less than spectacular. One of the key elements of this iconic museum is the 30,000 square feet of quarter-sawn white oak flooring made by Muscanell Millworks, using FSC® oak lumber from Frank Miller. Frank Miller was involved in the project from the beginning, keeping the supply on track and helping the architects realize their aesthetic vision. During my visit, one of the project managers told me that Frank Miller’s quarter-sawn white oak was the most beautiful hardwood he has ever seen — and he has been in the construction business for more than 20 years. The flooring installer echoed those sentiments. It has been an honor to have our hardwood included in the design of the Barnes Collection Museum. We are thrilled for Opening Day on May 19th and hope you will have the opportunity to visit the museum to see the finished floors firsthand, along with other remarkable pieces of art.