Despite the controversy surrounding the fate of the Barnes Foundation, two truths remain unchanged: Time to visit the Merion site is limited, and the expansive collection is undeniably sublime. This world-renowned facility is home to more than 9,000 works of art, including Asian, African and Native American pieces, plus paintings by some of history’s most celebrated artists. Matisse, Picasso and Renoir are just the tip of the iceberg. $15; kids under 3 free. Reservations required. 300 N. Latches Lane, Merion. Call (610) 667-0290 or visit barnesfoundation.org. —Emily Riley
And when in America, still do as the Romans do. Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center is geared up for the world debut of the multimillion-dollar, artifacts-loaded Ancient Rome & America exhibit, which illuminates the social, political and cultural parallels between the two great world powers. Through Aug. 1, military helmets and marble statues of Roman leaders complement familiar busts of America’s founding fathers—not to mention the iconic green-and-white Eagles’ helmets worn by the city’s modern-day gladiators. $12-$20; kids under 4 free. Independence Mall, 525 Arch St., Philadelphia. Call (215) 409-6600 or visit constitutioncenter.org. —E.R.
On July 27, the Philadelphia Orchestra backs legendary soul sister Aretha Franklin while former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice joins the Mann Center’s annual Gala Celebration on piano. (Yes, she can really play.) Franklin will belt out “Respect” and other classics, along with new tunes from her latest CD, A Woman Falling Out of Love. Rice will take on Mozart and duet with Franklin in a show that benefits arts education programs for inner-city youth. 8 p.m. $24-$95. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave., Philadelphia. Call (215) 893-1999 or visit manncenter.org. —Shannon Hallamyer